The holiday season is fast approaching. This means I’ll be flying to the San Francisco Bay Bay right after Thanksgiving to to a Christmas decorating job that I’ve done for years. A large nativity scene graces the front corner of my client’s front yard and gets lit every night when the spotlights turn on. It includes a stable custom designed by a carpenter and figures bought over time from different manufacturers, many of which I’ve painted to accent the detailing.
I want to share with you how I create this beautiful outdoor nativity scene, step by step. There’s a video at the end so you can see how I put this together.
1) The figures are all brought down from the garage attic . The green kidney-shaped board that you see behind Mary & Joseph is what the figures get attached to. This is an artificial lawn which stakes can’t be hammered into.
2) Mike puts the stable together. It’s weathered & slightly warped which makes it look more like an old structure. The 1st year it was put up I painted & stained the plywood because it just looked too new.
3) Here’s the stable put together.
The stable is very simple, just like the 1 in Bethlehem would have been.
4) Mary, Jesus & Joseph get placed 1st, followed by the angels. The Bethlehem Star is positioned on a shepherd’s hook behind the stable. Everything needs to be wired or secured with fishing line because this is in a valley just 7 blocks from the Pacific Ocean & the winter winds can blow like crazy. We learned this the hard way – the 2nd year many of the figures took flight & had to be repaired or replaced.
5) The Gloria Angel is wired at the top.
6) The donkey & the ox are added in. They, & the Gloria Angel, are the only figures which came painted. The others were all creamy white & I took the paint bush to them.
7) The large kneeling angels are the most recent addition. They’re actually a cement grey color & I brushed the wings with gold Modern Masters paint last year. I love these paints & used various colors to accent all the other figures.
8) The wise men & the camels are positioned.
9) The shepherds, drummer boy & sheep are next.
10) Although you’ve seen the palm fronds in some of the above pics, they’re added in last after all the figures are secured. The fronds, cut from the Canary Island Date Palm in the back yard, also gets wired to screws on top of the stable. They’re also placed on & around the green platforms to hide the edges.
Last is the placement of the spotlights. This is very important because the viewing of this nativity scene is most effective at night.
You can see how this outdoor nativity scene gets created:
May peace, love & joy be yours this holiday season & throughout the coming year,