Jingle bells, jingle bells, Jingle all the way...

Dear Blog Friends, the most magical time of the year has just begun. Today we would like to talk to you about the Nativity Scene or rather how to set it up in your home.

Raise your hand if - dusting off the old box of Christmas decorations stored up in the attic – you’ve felt excited to see the characters that every year make our Nativity Scene come to life.

Ok, some of you are skeptical and do not believe in the magic of Christmas and how much fun it can be to set up our Lord’s Nativity Scene.

Because the Nativity Scene is indeed not just an ancient tradition to be repeated every year. It brings with it also the great gift of taking us back to the past, putting us in touch with our "childlike" side.

The setting up of the Nativity Scene is, in fact, a unique moment that brings families together – why not, also to play and have fun.

So, for about a month, those little statues that are so dear to us become part of our daily lives and accompany us during the most eagerly awaited festivity of the year.

Shepherds, shepherdesses, merchants, craftsmen and animals come back to life in that corner of our sitting room where the Nativity Scene is set up.

But when should a Nativity Scene be set up? Is there a specific date? Well no. There is no specific date to set up your Nativity Scene, despite the fact that some people, at least here in Italy, wait for the traditional date of 8th December to stage their beloved characters.

Any time could be the ideal moment to get the whole family together and focus on planning and creating our new Nativity Scene.

But how should you set it up and which characters should you use? The answer is quite complex, considering that each country observes its own tradition.

Let’s think of the beautiful Nativity Scene set up in St Peter's Square this year. It comes from Peru, whose magnificent colors remind us of life in the Andes.

So, proposing a list of characters to use for our Nativity Scene is difficult enough, given the variety of nativity scenes in the world. Even if it is true that certain characters are absolutely essential.

Who are these characters?

It goes without saying - you might reply: Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus, the three wise men and the shepherds.

Everybody agrees on the protagonists, who are placed at the center of the scene and are mentioned in the canonical Gospels by St Luke and St Matthew.

The Virgin Mary is to be placed to the left of Baby Jesus, who is followed by Joseph, while the Shepherds and the three Wise Men are placed in front of the stable.

After that, our Nativity Scene could already be perfect as it is. And it mostly is, but something is missing... we want to have a wider crowd celebrating the Birth of the Lord and to create an atmosphere made of Joy and Hope.

So other statuettes are added on the mat of moss glued onto old newspaper sheets.

The choice of characters varies – we’ve said it already - according to the different peoples and traditions.

Here, we would like to propose the most classic characters used to set up a Nativity Scene.

Which are these characters? And how many are they?

There is no precise number. Each one chooses his or her own number of characters for the Nativity Scene.

As for the type of characters, apart from the Shepherds - in all their genders, i.e. male and female – whose presence is certain, an important role is played by the Craftsmen, the Musicians and the Animals.

Let's start with the Craftsmen: they are very important characters in the setting up of a Nativity Scene. They are represented while carrying out their activities and with an expression of amazement on their faces due to the Good News.

Another indispensable presence is that of the Musicians. Dressed in brown, as a sign of happiness and joy, they play to celebrate the event.

And how could we not mention the animals?

Geese, cats, dogs and even the dromedaries and camels accompanying the Wise Men on their long journey play a fundamental role in the Nativity...

And we have come to the end - at last, you may say!

Jokes aside, Dear Friends, from our humble considerations regarding the setting up of the Nativity Scene, you will have understood that what matters in the setting up of a Nativity scene is not really the material available, but rather the Fantasy and Joy you have in remembering the Miracle of the Birth.

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