keeping Christ in Christmas

Over on


, I saw

this post

that I thought I'd participate in.  The topic for today's "Talk to me Tuesday" is Keeping Christ in Christmas.

I collect nativity sets.  I have a thing especially for toy sets of all kinds, that the kids can play with.  We talk about the birth of Jesus, read lots of books and sing the songs.  I love to watch them playing with the characters in the play sets, acting out the events of the Christmas story.

This first picture is of Mercy two years ago.  This set has a cardboard background and wooden people with magnets on the bottom.  It came with two wands, also with magnets on the ends, so you can maneuver the people around the scene without actually touching them.  (or just grab and play, like Mercy is doing here.)

This is one of my favorites.. not a play set, but beautiful.  Someday I'll add more to it.

This set is my most favorite of all.  It was the first in my collection.  I'm really sad that at the moment we can't find the cat.  Not that I'm a huge cat fan, but I thought it was pretty neat that a nativity set would come with a cat.  And it was a really cute cat.  For some reason it was in our window sill for a while in our old house, and I remember putting it


when we moved so it wouldn't get lost.  You probably can relate.  

This one is a playmobil set, which is currently in Zeke's room.

This is another great one.  It looks like clay, but is actually rubbery something.  This one is actually an advent set, with a booklet telling you which piece to add to the story each day.  We aren't doing that part this year with this set, but Brooklyn has it in her room and at 11, still enjoys playing with the people and animals, acting it out.

Close up of the main characters.  Another thing I love about this one is that it has a little drummer boy.  I always wanted to make a nativity set out of clay, and have a drummer boy.  I also want a kneeling Santa in my set... someday.  But this one is so close to what I pictured making I just love it.

My mother-in-law gave me this set.  The donkey's ears are currently needing repair so he's not in the picture.  I let the kids move these around if they're careful, but it's not technically a play set.

So that's part of how we keep Christ in Christmas at our house.. through our talks, books, songs and play.

Another part is that we don't put much emphasis on gifts.  We try to keep talk of gifts focused on what they'd like to give instead of receive.  This year, Joe told the kids they could each pick a family, ministry or organization to donate a designated amount of money to.  They've been taking this seriously, really thinking about what to choose and are excited about it.  Also, we draw names and each of us make a gift for one other family member.  It's a nice way for each of us to spend some time thinking about that one person and focusing our time and creativity to make something special for them.