We’re #1 is a familiar chant in the realm of sports. We also see ranking in articles about wealthy individuals, celebrities, video game consoles, smart phones, the best/worst cities and so on, but really… nativity sets? We know it seems odd, but Yes!
So how do we know who is #1? The old fashioned way…. they told us. All kidding aside, Fontanini Nativity sets, imported from Italy are the most popular and long-lived line of nativity figurines sold in the US. Since 1908 the Fontanini Family has produced traditional nativity figures in Bagni di Lucca, Italy. To produce a quality, beautiful product welcomed by families into their homes for 105 years indicates the value and strength of the product. No wonder it is #1.
Figures are cast resin making them virtually unbreakable. Finally a nativity set you can let your children handle. Each figure is hand painted giving their finishing a human touch.
Part of the magic is how the figures are made.They begin with a skilled sculptor creating a model sculpture for the piece. It is cast in durable resin, inspected, then distributed to artisans in their homes to be individually hand painted. This is truly a community created work. While the wonders of 3D printing and the massive capacity of a Chinese factory can create cheap goods, they lose in the process a connection to humanity. And after all isn’t that what we celebrate a Christmas, God’s willingness to connect with humanity, through the wonder of the incarnation.
Over the years hundreds of different figures have been created allowing you the opportunity to add year by year to your family’s nativity scene, making it a unique expression of the Holy Family residing in your home at Christmas time
Every set starts with the Holy Family. Two main style are available the Classic style and the Centennial Collection style created in 2008 for the 100 year anniversary of the company.
What follows next is up to you. It might be the three kings, the Gloria Angel, an ox or donkey for the stable or shepherds and sheep. Your imagination is the limit.
For many people the best way to begin is to purchase a nativity starter set. These sets range from 5 piece set just with the Holy Family and a Stable to a 16 piece set that contains all the core figures, stable animals, an extra shepherd, sheep and a village girl. By far the most popular starter set is the 7 piece set with the Holy Family, shepherd and sheep, Gloria angel and a stable.