That Christmas Feeling

The staircase is draped in greens and berries, candles and wreaths crown every corner, and our ten foot Fraser fir stands tall in the center of the great room.  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Farm Grove, but the decoration that causes a flutter of nostalgic Christmas feelings is not glitter sparkling.  It is the humble cardboard nativity scene that belonged to my grandparents. 

Vintage Lithographed Manger Scene, Circa 1950

As I carefully fit the worn edges together for perhaps the fiftieth time, images of Christmas past at Grandma’s house flood my memory bank…date pinwheels, bowls of oranges, and long cellophane ropes of candy canes.  The nativity scene sat on top of Grandpa’s T.V., not pride-of-place so much as the only place it would fit in their small bungalow.  The decoration wasn’t a particular favorite for me at the time–there were cousins to play with, presents to open, and pies and cookies to eat.  But it was always there, a part of what made Christmas, Christmas. 

Now, sitting on the buffet flanked by candles and greens, Grandma’s nativity infuses my home with happy memories.  How remarkable that those worn paper figures have the power to make me feel like a child again, at Christmas.


About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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2 Responses to That Christmas Feeling

  1. Pam Baker says:

    I was folding up my cardboard nativity scene, placing it in the just-right-size paper bag it has lived in for years, and wondering if anyone else still has one. I’m so glad to see that someone else has, indeed, kept this treasure from so many years ago. It has so little monetary value (I saw one for sale from The Goodwill Store in Appleton, WI, in its original box and I think it was at $18.50) but so much sentimental value!

    • Sharon L. Clemens says:


      I so agree. The Shackman Company still makes reproductions, I believe, but nothing can replace the knowledge that my nativity scene came from Grandma’s house. Happy New Year!

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