One of the first things I do when I start my Christmas decorating is to place my Fontanini nativity on the mantel, because it is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. (I think I could probably just post the same photos every year for my Christmas décor, because I really don’t change things up much from one year to the next!)
Several years ago, I was looking at tablecloths in a closet at an estate sale. I glanced up at a shelf above the tablecloths and spotted a box (I can’t recall what was written on the side of the box. It wasn’t “Christmas” or “nativity”, but whatever it was, it made me think there might be a Christmas decoration inside, so I asked someone to get it down for me.) The estate sale sellers had not even taken it from the shelf, so it was not priced. Inside the box, I discovered the figures for a Fontanini nativity set. I put them back into the box and took it to the sellers to ask the price. They didn’t even look at the contents – just what was on top – and they asked if I would pay $15 for the box. I calmly said, “yes, I think I can do that”, and paid for the box.
The Fontanini family in Italy has been producing these figures since 1908. The fourth generation of that family operates the factory now. I don’t think this is an old set, but I know it is worth more than $15.00. The figures are a heavy plastic (thank goodness, because I’ve dropped many of them while trying to arrange them on the mantel). This year, I dropped baby Jesus. I moved all of the furniture from around the fireplace, got on my hands and knees and searched, with flashlight in hand, FOREVER! I even went to look in my dog’s hiding place to see if she had stolen baby Jesus to use as a chew toy. I finally decided that I would have to ask my grandchildren – who still have good eyes – to come over and search for him. I couldn’t find him anywhere! When I got back up on my ladder to try to adjust something, I spotted him, comfortably resting in one of the dried hydrangeas in the swag on the mantel. I was so glad that the hydrangea had provided a soft place for him to land, but I was so frustrated about how much time I had spent crawling around on the floor! They are not really shockingly expensive figures, but I love the details and the soft colors used in these figures. However, I did just see the 3 figures on camels on ebay, and the price is currently $85.00 for the 3 of them!
The backdrop I use did not come with the set. I bought it for $5.00 at a garage sale.
The angels on the lamps are also Italian and purchased at a different estate sale. They are much more fragile than the Fontanini figures. The angel on one lamp has only one wing left and she is close to loosing the other wing (I wonder if she has not been a very good angel – more likely, I have not been a very good caretaker.) I can’t remember how much I paid for these, but I know it wasn’t more than $5.00 each.
Since I consider this one of my favorite bargains ever, I am linking to
Junkin Finds at A La Carte.
I am also linking this post to Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper.