No, we’re not very religious here at Maple Hoo, but we do have at least a little Christ in our Christmas.
When we were kids we had two creches that were the funnest part of putting out all our decorations on Christmas Eve. It was like playing with a dollhouse, arranging all the little figures around their respective mangers.
Now, one of the creches was a gift from friends of our father’s family; they were the kind of people who collect creches from all over the world, and gave us one from some Polynesian locale. It was made of bamboo. It did not artfully survive being manhandled by four children, and is in no shape to be put out every Christmas.
Our other creche was from Boomer’s family, and is adorably like a 3-D version of the illustrations in a children’s Bible.
This creche is also in bad shape, with every figure spiderwebbed with repair lines from where they have been dropped and broken, but it’s at least not just a heap of unrecognizable pieces of bamboo. Also, the packaging we keep it in is pretty remarkable. First, there’s the newspaper the individual pieces are wrapped in for storage:
Yup. That’s the New York Times from Thursday, January 5, 1989.
And then there’s the tattered old box everything gets put in for its 11-month stay in the attic:
Last year Favre discovered he could just wedge himself into the box, and slept in it all December. One evening, while laughing at the big, fluffy cat curled up in the little, beat-up box, Boomer exclaimed with no small surprise, “That’s my father’s handwriting!” Her father passed away when she was 16. The box, clearly marked “CRESHE”, is dated December 1962. We might not spend our holidays in person with our extended family, but they’re certainly here in spirit.