• Neil Allen

I Never Meant to Go Overboard

Helen Holder

A gift

It started in 1968 when I folded an origami nativity, designed by Ligia Montoya in The Secrets of Origami. A SERRV catalog enticed me with 3 more the next year.

I did try to restrict myself to adding one nativity a year....but...

No Regrets

Now I knew there were many styles, traditions, materials so different from the Woolworth type I was familiar with and there was no stopping me. I did try to restrict myself to adding one nativity a year to the collection, but in 10 years there were 20 sets, more than 100 by 1988 and 900+ today. 

Travels, catalogs, rummage sales, antique stores, waste baskets, eBay, gifts, parking lots, down sizing and crafting have all yielded additions to the collection.    

We began inviting friends in for cider, doughnuts and a view of the growing collection. In 2002 we were part of Austin MN’s Christmas in the City, opening our house to the public. Every year we continue to share with all comers—November through the first weeks of January—asking a donation for the Salvation Army.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau listed us as “The Nativity House” in their 2004 brochure. Now they arrange bus tours that include us along with the Spam Museum, the Hormel Historic Home, the Paramount Theater and other Austin highlights.  We have had as many as 60 people in our house at one time.

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