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Be Careful what you agree to

By Helen Holder


This is a nativity set adapted from a  Better Homes and Gardens pattern that my husband and I made many, many years ago. I got a call 3 years ago from Anne who wanted me to make one like it for her to give to her sister, dying of cancer. I was happy to agree. It was just made of cheap plywood, one color of paint and nothing very fancy—no problem at all!  I remembered the hardest part was designing the base, but now we had it all worked out; it would be easy to recreate. 

Then we went to buy the lumber. Those big sheets of plywood and boards for the base were lots more expensive than I remembered. Cutting out the shapes was also a problem. We had originally done it outdoors, but that was not possible in the deep snow we had. The sheets were too big to manage the job in our basement so we had to hire out the cutting. 


The cost was rising fast and I felt I must consult Anne. How much money was she willing to spend for this gift? She didn’t think it was too much so the project continued. 


Now I was intimidated. Could I really paint worthy of a $400 nativity set? It certainly looked pretty crude while I was working on it. Oh well, the worst that could happen is that I would have two sets to display if the recipient refused delivery.

I finished before Christmas, delivered it and helped to set it up. The joy expressed by the giver and the receiver was truly heartwarming. Compliments flowed, tears flowed and I went home glad for having had the opportunity to be a part of that joy. Nonetheless, I shall do a little more research before I agree to such a project again.



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