oh, sprawling metropolis of Bethlehem!

Our tree is up! No lights or decorations yet, but my pagan bones are pleased.

My Christian bones are feeling a little harassed, though. The boys set up our "creche", which is really a whole little town of Bethlehem, complete with angels, handmade linkin' logs-type stable, a wooden train, a playmobil creche set, small wooden houses, and various plastic and wooden toy animals from the toy box. This year, we are all very grown up and bossy, so we have NO matchbox cars because they didn't have cars back then, silly! Also no hippo, or octopus, or, after much discussion, dinosaurs.

I said, "well, you always liked to put ALL of the animals, before, so that none would feel left out? Because Baby Jesus loves them all?" and I got three identical superior looks, without reply. I noticed that there is a frog, though. I didn't mention that they had "no trains, either, sillies" because it looks so cute.

And I am sure that next year, there will be no train in our creche.

The entire coffee table is Bethlehem. Mary sits and tends a fire, while the Angel Gabriel has a serious-looking man-talk with Joseph. Baby Jesus is playing with a kitten, though he is SUPPOSED to be having a nap. The wooden train approaches the station in Bethlehem Town, with the station master waiting. There are wooden trees, handmade Christmas trees from kindergarden days of yore, and fences to keep the goat out of the trees. (Bethlehem goats, like Trini goats, will eat anything and can climb trees) We cannot find the toy elephant anywhere, or the camel, so two of the (porcelain) wise men walked. They look happy though, and no doubt they will join in the man-talk with Joseph and Gabriel. Oh, and the Shepherds. Playmobil Shepherds, they are great! Thank you Aunty Ailis, for years of Playmobil Christmas fun!

Mum has a beautiful grown-up creche with three wise women. Next year, I think we will be ready for a more grownup creche, and I am going to find or make three wise women. Because, Mary looks like she could use a cup of tea and some girl-talk by her cooking-fire. Or maybe we could have a grown up creche AND the kids' one. All the kids who come over, love to play with our creche.

Anyone have good creche ideas? Who knows, maybe this year I will have time to do something really cool! Stranger things HAVE happened!!