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Making A Scene At Christmas

One of the earliest traditions of Christmas is the Nativity which dates back to the 13 th century. (Nativity made by Moslem women in a refugee camp near Ramallah, Palestine)

This year, for the second year running, the people of Ballarat and district can visit Bridge Mall and
see Making a Scene at Christmas - a unique display of over 500 Nativities owned and collected
by three passionate Christmas people - Andrew, Fiona and Kay.  For over ten years the three
have been combining their growing collections to provide an alternative view to the commercial
Christmas. They will be in a shop in the Bridge Mall from 4 - 5 and 11 – 24 December, open from
10:00 – 5:00 daily. There is no cost to come and visit the display though we welcome gold coin
donations which go towards covering costs. The only restrictions are those that the Government
stipulate in managing the COVID 19 pandemic.

(Pregnant Mary painted in Colombia)
Over the last ten years Making a Scene at Christmas has grown as the individual collections
have grown. The display has been mounted in the many towns, large and small, of the Western
District, in Melbourne and in Canberra where Making a Scene at Christmas was invited to join
with a resident collector there and mount an even larger display which attracted quite an amount
of interest for the residents there. Making a Scene at Christmas regularly hear comments: This is
amazing! I have never seen so many Nativities! I have really enjoyed this and I will bring the
Grandchildren to see it tomorrow!

(Spark-plug angel from Burkina Faso)
Making a Scene at Christmas usually travels to schools with an engaging learning program for
students attending Foundation to Year 10. The powerful question of: What would the Nativity look
like if it happened in your time and town? has provoked some amazing learning and responses.
Our favourite had the Nativity being on the sixth floor of a high-rise in Flemington, with the
shepherds being replaced by the homeless and the Magi being replaced by the doctors and
nurses from the big hospitals.
These Nativities come from all around the world – every continent and over 60 countries.  Some
Nativities are artistically beautiful, some are challenging, some invite you to ask questions, some
tell different parts of the Christmas story, some have their own fascinating story to tell. There are
nativities made of bone, bread, wood, car parts, glass, bullets and paper.  There is even one made
of potato chip packets! Many are hand-crafted.  Many answer the question, if this event
happened in my time and place what would it look like?
Our personal highlights include a pregnant Mary hand painted by widows of the drug violence in
Columbia, one hand made by a refugee Moslem woman in Palestine, and the fiercesome large
Herod that came off a carousel in New York State.

(King Herod)
Also included in the collection are interesting artefacts that date back over the centuries to the time
of the Birth of Jesus. There are coins from the time and place that Jesus was born, and a coin that
shows the star event that was evident at the time of the birth, and a Roman hand-made oil lamp. 

Photos Supplied - Fiona Tonkin