Although Christmas is still days away, most of the orders for nativities, ornaments and religious sculptures are packed up, mailed and shipped off to customers who are waiting to gift others with these keepsakes.
Pal Craftaid still has some nativities in stock that can arrive at your door before Christmas – if you are still searching for the perfect creche.
Rami Giacaman says that Bethlehem woodcarvers typically incorporate figures into the manger scenes that are familiar in the Christmas story.
But they get inventive, too. It isn’t unusual, he says, to augment the creches with common Christmas symbols. Hence, some of the nativities – featured here – are shaped like the bells that ring Christmas morning, or, incorporate a Christmas tree in the background.
A musical nativity softly plays, “Silent Night.”
No matter how big or how small, each nativity is carefully made.
“It takes hours,” says Giacaman, adding bigger pieces take more hours still. “There are many, many steps.”
There is each character. The frame of the nativity itself. The base. Symbols that distinguish each one – a star, a palm tree, a donkey. Each piece is cut, sanded, glued into place – and then shipped as a Christmas keepsake all over the world.
So, with the shipments done, woodworkers are out of the holiday rush – and are working to stockpile pieces for the next season – so that the shop, Il Bambino on Manger Square, is always ready for the next customer.