2006 – Nativity

I guess you could call it part of our effort to put Christ back in CHRISTmas.

Sheryl’s been hunting high and low for a nativity scene and couldn’t find the right one. Most of them were too small, and she wanted one large enough to stand out in the front yard. Sure enough, in April of this year, she finally found someone that had it in stock and ordered it off the web. Nice

But looks are deceiving. The thing was too small! It looked all small and abandoned out by itself in the front yard. I figured the best way to get it to stand out and to make it look like it had a home was to build a shed to complete the Nativity scene.

Normally, I’m quite the bah-humbug kind of guy, but this seemed like a worthwhile project, so off I went to work.

I definitely wanted it to look rustic; but more than that,. I wanted it to have a “I am NOT having my child in THAT thing” kind of look. Which just so happened to coincide with my cheapskate budget.

I got some hay from a friend who has several horses (Noelle meets up with their daughter and a few other 10-yr olds after church each Sunday to ride around). I also found some lady with a bunch of bamboo in her front yard. Apparently a utility company came along and chopped down a bunch of her bamboo in order to service the electrical lines – and then left the bamboo there. She told me to take as much as I want (awesome!) I picked up a few 1x1s and 2x2s from the local lumber shop and also used my leftover split-rail fencing from my fencing project this summer (you can see the fence on the far right in the above photo).

Normally, I don’t recommend Ryobi cordless tools, but seeing as how one’s tools just might happen  to fall out of an employee’s truck again, I didn’t mind spending $99 for the 5-piece set (Milwaukee rocks; Ryobi .. well, you don’t cry if you lose it).

The thing took a lot longer than I thought it would. No biggie – except right about now, Micah decides to tell me that I need to take her to a hayride with her school. Lovely. (I hate interruptions) I used the cedar fence posts to make the 4 vertical corners and then the 2xs and 1xs for the horizontal rails.

So here’s the set in the garage. I ran out of bamboo at 2am. The next day, I was about to run out to get some more bamboo when the girls told me to just get some from our backyard. “We have bamboo?”

“Well, not in our backyard, but if you follow the creek to the junkyard, there’s bamboo there.”

“Really? Show me!” (cool. Now I’ve got someone to carry the stuff).

Our home backs up to a tiny forest. Sure enough, when we followed the creekbed, we came to a huge pile of bamboo. Bueno!

She’s such a cute slave. Once she realized I was taking her picture, she stopped to give me a “proper” pose. She didn’t believe that her cameo shots looked better. (hahahaha)

Noelle thought the set needed some livestock, so she added a horse. “Uhhhhh.. Maybe if we paint the horse solid white, that’ll help.”

“Noooo! Don’t paint my horsey!”

“But you’ve got a gazillion of them. You’re not going to miss one.”

“No way! I’m putting him back.”


It’s a royal pain tying down all that bamboo with twine.

Every nativity scene needs some hay. The finished shack now gets transported to its final destination.

Hmmmmm. Needs a little something. (Sheryl always thinks ahead)

I thought the 100w lights were a little too bright, but I think they’ll work. Also, the angel didn’t look right being inside the shed, so I put her on the top. Sheryl’s mom came by and said the figures were too low in the hay – they needed a platform, so we propped a couple of pave stones under them and covered them back up with hay.

Hay and stubble: free
Wood: $7
Lights: $9
Birth of Christ: Priceless

For the outdoor figures, there’s Master Card (grrrr! stinking ripoff! I think I’m going to have a cow. * Saaaaay!)