My Grandmother's Manger Scene

I'm pulling out my Christmas decor, now that Thanksgiving is over. I admit I did already have one of my vintage aluminum trees already up (I'll show you later)..... but that was all.

One of my cherished pieces is this manger scene. It belonged to my Grandmother, my mother's mother. As children we called her Mommy Cheek (of course Cheek being her last name). As an adult, I was very close to her and at some point affectionately began to call her Granny. :) She didn't mind.


One year, my sister Vicky was going through her "ceramic art" period and during that time, she made my grandmother an amazing set of manger pieces, large compared to this and oh so beautiful. After that, it is all my Granny used and so within a Christmas or two, she offered me the one she was using before and I took it ! I had the pieces of the one my family had when I was a child, but it's cardboard manger was long gone, so this was happily welcomed. I don't know how long I've had it now, more than 30 years, but probably not as much as 40.


I'm sure it was an inexpensive department store manger and you can tell the painting of details leaves a LOT to be desired, but it's overall appearance is sufficient enough.


As you can see, in this version Baby Jesus was not wrapped in swaddling cloths, but had a simple green loin cloth instead.

Did you laugh? I did when I typed that.


Here we see a wise man which appears to be carrying a hefty piece of gold.... or gold chest.


The other wise man is carrying a jar, which I am just sure has frankenscence or myrrh in it. A third wise man didn't make it onto the scene in this version. Maybe he got there later. :)


Now the angel, eh hem, seems to be particularly messy. I don't think it is because of age or use as she is hanging under the eve of the manger. I do believe she came just like this, green eye shadow and all ! I'm only guessing that because otherwise her eyes seem to be looking down and that was the best I could figure. GLORIA ! for sure.


The manger has held up well and appears to be made from very thin plywood? The top has square bits of shaved wood glued to it.


Behind the angel, in the peak of the back wall, there is a hole where a one bulb cord is attached. When it was given to me it had a blue light bulb in it that was burned out, so that is what I replaced it with.


I'm guessing that is supposed to give the scene somewhat of a "night glow"

manger with blue light.jpg

So there it is !

I do so love everything about Christmas !

I'm having a long weekend because of the Thanksgiving holiday and I am loving it, but it is over half over and that is too fast ! It is also a gray rainy day here today, but there is so much to be done inside, I don't really mind.

I hope you are having a really nice day and that your heart is merry.

Love you ! Mean it !


Comments 10

So nice Manger scene! Beautiful pieces! Here in Italy we call it "presepe" and it's a traditional way to decor the italian houses during the Christmas time. ^_^

01.12.2019 13:50

Thank you !

Presepe... I went to google to see how to pronounce it. Today I have learned a new word !

01.12.2019 14:18

I swear I had the same manger growing up. The pieces are unmistakable! I would bet on it! They always had some exaggerated expressions it seemed. I remember the straw glued on the roof and a good bit on the inside. Always left a trail behind. Now ours just had a light but didnt have that rear way picture. Very cool to see and I enjoyed the memories it brought back.

01.12.2019 15:44

I noticed while I was looking through vintage mangers on ebay that a lot of the old ones, older than this one, like the one we had when I was a child, had some of the same figures too, made in Italy it seems and some of the same "characters" were used in different sets. The old ones from my childhood were not plastic though, although I don't really know what they are made of.

Glad it brought back some memories for you. I had thought the manger was cardboard before I pulled it back out this year, but found it was a much more sturdy material, which is good or it might not would have survived this long. Honestly, nearly perfect condition. I do want to get a packet of some of that craft hay to sprinkle on the floor of it. I think that would make it look a little better.

01.12.2019 16:22

I went through a ceramic period too. I won't show you my painting. I resorted to a lot of ivory colored pieces of things.

I think these were popular little sets and I agree, they were inexpensive sets, but, it made it affordable for everyone. My Italian Godfather had a manger he set up on his front porch after Thanksgiving. It was ritual and until the year he dies in his 90's, it made it to the porch on time. ;)

Happy December!

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02.12.2019 01:24

My sister really did well in the ceramics. I think she picture retiring with a potters wheel in her garage, but alas after all these years, she's retired and now it just seems like a lot of trouble....LOL....

Yes.... I think there were many different versions of this same type of manger all over and I too think it was so that everyone could afford one. As badly as it is painted, amazingly, a few steps back and it all blends in nicely. :)

Some traditions, like the manager on the porch after Thanksgiving, are true keepers. I know those memories must make you smile.

Happy December for sure !

02.12.2019 02:48
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02.12.2019 01:24

Thank you !

02.12.2019 02:49
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02.12.2019 23:44

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04.12.2019 00:10