Every year, a couple of days before Christmas, my father will ask us "Now, what's the nativity scene going to look like this year?". And he will go into his workshop and won't be seen again until Christmas Eve…
Setting up the nativity scene under the Christmas tree, mostly with the figures of Jesus as a child in a manger, Mary, Joseph, Ox and donkey, shepherds and sheep (not forgetting a sheep dog), the three wise men with their gifts and at least one angel in a landscape model of Bethlehem, is a beautiful German tradition and very cherished in my family. On Christmas Eve - we exchange presents then, have a nice dinner and go to church - the nativity scene is presented to the family under the lit Christmas tree and at the Feast of Epiphany (January 6th) the three wise men are added (they come from very far away, so it takes them a bit longer). The nativity remains until the end of the Christmas season which in our home is Candlemas (February 2nd).
And every year our scene will look different. We had a small river (yes, real running water - I kid you not! Though this year my father is going to use clear nail polish instead just to get a water effect) and the holy family in a stable or in a cave. Here are a couple of examples from the past decades.
And just as I was finishing this blog post I came across this Mercedes Benz advertising from the year 2007 that fits quite nicely. "Be there first. The GL 500 with 388 hp."