Chat with Deb—No More Nativities!

At all. Period. No exceptions. Unless it’s really, really cute…

Jack Herlocker
4 min readJan 2, 2023

Deb and I are downsizing. We are going into a retirement community Real Soon Now so we need to get rid of stuff in the basement and not add more stuff elsewhere in the house. Like artwork or cute knickknacks. Or, as we are reminded around this time of year, nativities.

DEB: I do not care how cute they are! No more, Jackster!

We did not, by the way, add any this year.

Strictly speaking.

Our finds from our Alaska trip, May 2022. Strictly speaking, more “holy family” than “nativity,” right? (all photos by author)

DEB: Our Alaska finds still count, honey. Sorry!

ME: But you love those! The “madonna and child” from Anchorage and the holy family from Skagway are absolutely adorable!

DEB: Yes, but they are IT! I’m serious! I’m running out of places to put them, anyway.

Really, she’s just gotten more creative. Like the nativity she and her first husband got as a gift many years ago.

We have bookshelves that have become available as Deb gives away old books. The “unicorn” at the right of the first photo is actually a donkey with its ears at odd angles. The three magi are another shelf over to humor me; my priest growing up in the Episcopal Church was adamant that the three wise guys did not show up until Jesus was about two years old, and I usually mention that once (or twice or thrice) a holiday season.

ME: So what are the stories behind the egg nativity and the rock nativity?

The “egg nativity” and the “rock nativity.” They are both small enough to fit in a hand. The egg one is from Peru, but the rock one is unknown.

DEB: The egg nativity was a gift to Mom & Dad that I inherited. The rock nativity… predates you. So I’ve had it long enough I don’t remember when I got it.

ME: And the South American nativity we got from Ten Thousand Villages, right?

Pretty sure this originated in Peru.

DEB: And the African nativity.

From Cameroon. Deb keeps records.

ME: But not at the same time.

DEB: Nope, same time. One of our anniversary weekends. You’re doing a Chat with Deb on these, aren’t you? Do you need more details? I kept cards. (goes and checks) Okay, the African one is from Cameroon. The South American one is from Peru, as is the egg one, it turns out.

ME: The holy family mice we got from our Maine visit last year.

Seriously, how could you pass up this one?

DEB: The one we got in Vermont? Uh huh.

ME: New England trip, exactly. The puzzle nativity we got at the craft fair in Harrisburg a few years ago.

DEB: Or from that cute store in State College on another of our anniversary weekends?

If you don’t take it apart as a puzzle, the pieces can be used to give a 3D effect.

ME: Oh. Yes. Okay, is the wood cutout nativity another pre-me piece?

Nanci, if you are reading this, it was a very confusing Christmas last year.

DEB: Um, no, we got that last year, from Nanci [her sister]. A fellow at [Dad’s old church] makes them, and Nanci bought one for us and one for [our niece, Nanci’s daughter].

ME: So ten total.

DEB: Counting the Advent calendar?

Our advent calendar, with nuns carrying sewing needles and angels with vuvuzelas.

ME: Yes, eleven, yup!

DEB: And that’s all we’re getting. Ever.

ME: Of course, luv!

Unless we find one that’s really, really cute…


Found another one. That makes twelve.

A gift to Deb from one of her students when she taught 3rd Grade Sunday School in the early 1980s



Jack Herlocker

Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.