Box for a Nativity

Possibly 50+ years ago, my aunt and uncle brought a nativity set back from Spain as a gift to my parents. I have no exact date, so must guess. My mother put this set out every Christmas……and then it came to me, and I did the same. My youngest daughter has always loved it and I decided it was time for it to go to her.

After many years of being put away unceremoniously in a different box every year, I decided the time was nigh for it have its own box and a specially designated place for the future.

I should have measured it first, but no. I’m thinking Joseph is about 7” tall….to give some idea of size. His poor neck sports old glue technology…unsightly, but done with love by my dad. The poor baby Jesus was really easy to lose…so another good reason for him to have his own manger space. :slightly_smiling_face: I wrapped each piece in some purple fleece material to keep them safe inside.

I designed the box from scratch….and did not use a box generator. I’ve been wanting for a long time to make a box with a sliding lid and I sure learned a lot. I made it first half-sized in cardboard to test my file. Found and fixed a couple errors. Then, I did a full-size in PG draft board, and not wanting to waste that, I added some graphics and personalization to it for my husband to keep his pipes and smoking stuff in….and will give it to him for Christmas. Finally, having achieved design success, this box of PG cherry, with the lid medallion in maple.

The gold wings below the hole were done with embossing powder. The halos on the maple engraving were done with oil based markers.

(lid detail)

The angel on the front is my pride and joy, very painstakingly colored in with the oil based markers.

The inside bottom of the box contains my personal words to my daughter, as well as the history of the set. I have obscured some of the text for personal reasons.

She already knows the history, but everyone knows that generations from now, that information could end up being lost. This way, she won’t have to have a good memory!

There were countless hours of work put into this, sort of hit and miss over quite some time….the designing, the artwork, the hand-finishing, the gluing. Maybe I should have kept track, but it was too random. There are mistakes, but for once I will resist my usual proclivity for pointing them out and just say that I loved making this and I will love giving it to Alison.


This makes the top 10 most beautiful things I’ve seen here and considering the competition that is saying something!


Completely agree. Absolutely gorgeous! You have every right to be proud of the color on that angel – it looks fantastic.


Wow, that’s amazing and beautiful.


Oh thank you so much, Mark…it certainly is saying something. You are always so kind.


That angel is just stunning! (And I think I agree with Mark’s assessment - gorgeous work!) :grinning:


Wow! Thanks so much for sharing the story and the amazing box! Definitely a keepsake for a long time!


Gasp! What a wonderful heirloom you have created!


Beautiful! Your box will be as appreciated as the nativity set through the years!


Thank you for sharing this beautiful project. I am inspired by your skill sets. You have mastered so many new things and shared your experiences so generously with your forum friends. I always look forward to your forum posts.


Wow! The blue/white shading on the angel is perfection. What a beautifully executed and thoughtful gift.


Not just things in a bag anymore. They got the respect they deserved.

The ‘History’ was an inspirational touch.

You have probably guaranteed that these will be passed on for a few generations longer.

Great job.


Well that’s just about the fanciest thing on here!


Ok … I’m sentimental for sure … but, made me cry. Love the heart you put into the project. Love knowing how she will enjoy this for the rest of her life. Such a beautiful, beautiful treasure.

Even if your daughter isn’t sentimental … she will no doubt cry.

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Absolutely beautiful.

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Oh, she’s sentimental alright…we both got that from my mom. My son is the same way…maybe worse! I really loved making this and I really appreciate your kind words. Could be that the box will last longer than the figures, but I’m hoping they both go forward together for a long time.

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Thank you so much. Yes…the history. So much gets lost because we forget to ask and we forget to document.


Beautiful work @Xabbess! This truly is an amazing labor of love and you have numerous elements that I’ve yet to try.

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The story began with a gift from Spain. Your parents cherished it, and you learned to appreciate its significance.
The years pass.
Your work just added another chapter to a story that continues to be written across generations.

Excellent application of your newfound skills, wrapped in love.


Your angel is my favorite part too. You do such beautiful work on all of your projects. This is great inspiration. :grinning: