20 December 2007

Zooming Down the Road to Bethlehem

Years ago someone gave us a book that had cardstock nativity figures you could punch out and set up. The book also had a little story you could read each day as you set the figures up little by little.

Which is fine, except we have tons of stories to be read every day in Advent, and the story in this book was rather dorky. But the kids wanted to punch out the little cardstock figures and set them up because they like that sort of thing -- it has a sort of paper doll vibe to it. And I didn't want to have random nativity figures strewn all over the house (well, more than we already do), getting all tatty and ripped.

So I came up with a sort of compromise -- we would use the cardstock nativity, but we would read a different story. We would use The Light in the Lantern. Of course, this involved getting other stuff into the scene we were setting up, as our cardstock set didn't come with, say, squirrels or spiders or rabbits. But we sort of had fun finding stuff all over the house to use to illustrate the story as we set it up little by little.

And, of course, the next year we did it again. And again. It had become a tradition. Except I don't think cardstock figures are exactly made to be used year after year.

And this year when we were getting out the Christmas stuff I just sort of left the bag of them laying there. No one seemed to notice that they were missing. "Ah," I though, "the kids have outgrown this. Which is fine, since I'm sick of this particular nativity set."

On Monday of this week Kid2 suddenly announced, "WE FORGOT TO DO THE LIGHT IN THE LANTERN!"

Egads. My bad -- I should've known that household traditions are household traditions, and must be laid to rest carefully, not casually overlooked and forgotten.

The book has 28 stories in it, enough to read one per day for four weeks. And it's about a week until Christmas.

So we did the entire first week (mineral kingdom) on Monday. The entire second week (plants) on Tuesday. And the third week (animals) yesterday. Mother Mary and Joesph are setting speed records on the road to Bethlehem.

Fortunately, we are pretty speedy about about getting our props. We no longer break open a new geode for the story about the boulder in their path -- I just save the same one to use from year to year. Run and get some jagged rocks from around the air coniditioner compressor, plunk down a shot glass with water and glitter in it for the well, the squirrel is in the Playmobil, the spider is in the box of Halloween decorations ... on and on.

Mother Mary keeps falling on her face, possibly due to the blistering pace, or possibly due to the fragile nature of cardstock figures. We have lost the sheep's horns. I have been campaigning to pitch the cardstock figures and get something else. Kid2 is tending to agree (although given how sick I am this week, the kids are being pretty agreeable to everything -- my complaints about the cardstock figures are a welcome break from my complaints that my head is going to explode or my eyeballs are going to fall out next time I sneeze, and today we have the entire new issue of how much my chest hurts when I cough or clear my throat and I might be dying here, do I really have to spend my final moments on Earth setting up these cardstock figures that keep knocking over?).

If we do keep the storybook but ditch the cardstock, I'd like to make some new figures. Out of wool. Using the concept of the angel off the front cover of Living Crafts, which is a magazine that I just discovered this week at Michaels and like so much that I want to sleep with it under my pillow. Many of my thoughts this week seem to center on "sleep" and "pillow", though, so this might not be a good measure.

Today we should catch up with the story, and be able to enter Bethlehem with grace and dignity. Assuming I live that long. Have I mentioned how much my chest hurts every time I cough?


km said...

We're on the starting end of those traditions. I'll definitely think twice before I do things now. Prayers that you feel better. I think I had that just after Thanksgiving. It seemed to linger forever.

Tara said...

Oh, I hope you begin to feel better soon. And that Mary, Joseph and the rest of the cardboard gang can hang on to make it through one more nativity set-up. Felted figures sound beautiful.

Ami said...

Get thee to a laminator. The cardboard critters and folks driving you nuts today are tomorrow's heirlooms your kids will fight over.

I hope you're feeling good very soon. There's no good time to be sick, of course, but being sick over Christmas really sucks.