Christmas with a touch of crass
It's also the first Christmas decoration to appear each December, my small way of drawing at least some of the tiny greed monsters' attention each night to the values and meaning behind the season.
Yes, we have a Fisher Price nativity set. I bought the first two parts -- the manger plus the Three Kings and shepherds -- when Big Guy was 1. The year after that, we added the Little Drummer Boy. We're waiting the arrival of the inn.
It appalls me a bit when I consider I have probably 80 bucks invested over the years in Chinese-made hunks of plastic -- particularly since most of it was purchased before we got serious about stopping the import of toxic toys.
But it's also one of our enduring holiday traditions -- and one that resonates more with the guys each year.
It started that first year, with Big Guy sitting in the middle of my criss-cross applesauced legs as I used the figurines to act out the Christmas story.
Soon he was helping me move the pieces, dutifully thump-dragging Mary and Joseph toward the manger.His also was sound engineer. He had the honors each night of tapping the angel on top, which produces a music-box rendition of "Away in a Manger."
He was, however, only 17 months old so no matter how hard I tried to shield Baby Jesus, he sometimes wound up in Big Guy's mouth. One elderly relative still hasn't recovered from wide-eyed shock at witnessing that.
The next Christmas, Big Guy was more reverent but everything headed for 6-month-old Boots' mouth.
Despite the challenges -- "No, Boots, don't chew the Wise Men" and "Big Guy, please stop throwing Mary" -- we've continued the tradition.
Tonight, they really seemed to key in.
"Why are the kings wearing dresses?"
"Why aren't there any queens?"
"Where are their cars?"
"I thought God is Jesus' father. But now you're saying it's Joseph?"
"What sound does a camel make?" They had me on that one.
The set held their peaceful attention for a good hour tonight after we'd finished the re-enactment, a remarkable length considering the truculent times earlier in the day. Though Boots insisted on making the sheep oink, their re-enacting did pick up some elements of the story they'd heard earlier.
That's true interactive learning that literally brings religion to their level, putting it on terms accessible to their tiny minds and sols.
That makes my imported sacrilege worth every dollar I've spent and every horrified stare I've received.
Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.