Our Nativity exhibit was born in December 1991. The initial display was presented as the Friday afternoon “Tea and Topics” program at CRISTA'S Nursing Home in North Seattle (now Shoreline).
Lila, with the activities department, brought in around 40 Nativity sets her family had collected from a number of different countries, and set them up for the enjoyment of the residents. Ellie, Lila’s boss, helped bring in residents, served them tea and engaged them in conversation as they enjoyed the different depictions of Christ’s birth. The day was a tremendous success, yet the residents were a bit upset that they had not known about it sooner, so they could invite their families.
The following year, 1992, the display was set up in a larger room, and kept up for the entire day, so the residents could share it with their families and friends. The time was still too short. Most of their families worked, or had to come a fair distance, so by 1994, the request was made to increase the time of the exhibit. Lila’s whole family came together, and brought in their entire collections. Many other people also brought in their Nativities to share. Ellie made sure the room was reserved and ready every year, and joined the family in looking for new Nativities to add to the exhibit. Countless hours were donated to develop a system to display the growing exhibit. Hundreds of boxes, crates, display cases, tables and other items along with boxes and boxes of fabric are stored away every year so the Exhibit can be recreated to celebrate the beginning of Advent the following year.
In 2015 we were privileged to present over 750 nativities from more than 100 countries. The exhibit is presented as a gift for those who wish to enjoy it, andfor the last few years, a complimentary drawing for children to win one of several small nativities has been included.