One collector has 70, another has over 600, but the largest collection totals 2,200!
As reported by Kyle Munson on DesMoinesRegister.com on December 3, 2011, It’s unlikely that anybody else in the world, owns as many Nativity sets as Michael Zahs of Washington County, Iowa: 2,200 at last count.
One is carved from the back-leg bones of beef cattle. Another Nativity is forged from square nails. Zahs crafted one himself by bending and twisting barbed wire. In yet another favorite Nativity, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus were carved out of oak beams from the historian’s great-grandfather Zahs’ barn, set within a stable of intertwined raspberry twigs.
“If you don’t have a story for it, does it get pitched?” Mr. Munson's photojournalist colleague, Mary Chind, asked while sorting through Nativity sets. “Usually you can find a story for it,” Zahs says.
To read more about Mr. Zahs and his quest to ensure that the story of how Iowans have made Christmas their own is preserved in the 21st century click here
WIFR.com reported on December 4, 2011, that another Midwest collector displayed 750 nativity scenes that he's collected over 30 years at the United Brethren Church in Rockford, Illinois. A short video of this collector's story can be found here
Even my hometown of Pueblo, Colorado has joined in the nativity festivities; one of the local Methodist churches just launched their inaugural Creche festival.
Loretta Sword reported in the Pueblo Chieftain on December 3, 2011, that at least 70 creches of all description, and that many more Christmas ornaments depicting nativity scenes, would be on display at the church. The collection acquired over a span of 50 years is a mix of nativities from secondhand shops, church socials, catalogs, Christian bookstores, and gifts from friends and family. They range from the delicate and artful to the quirky and even comical. To read about the Pueblo, Colorado collection, click here
I didn't realize that collecting nativity sets and scenes was such a popular hobby. Perhaps these collectors will add to their collection with a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted rock nativity
set lovingly crafted in Pueblo, Colorado.