By Elva K. Austria
Over 125 unique nativity sets from around the world, most of which are handmade and hand painted, will go on sale on December 4th. No two sets are alike, and they are made from ceramic, wood, paper, fabric, and other materials, including traditional and non-traditional arrangements. Sizes range from less than an inch to over 2 feet tall, with one-piece and multi-piece sets.
On sale from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 518 N. Alameda, Las Cruces. All proceeds will go to St. Andrew’s Hospitality House, which temporarily accommodates medical patients and family members from outside the Las Cruces area.
Hospitality House manager Nancy Haynes said the collection’s donor, Ebie Henry, was a member of St. Andrews and traveled the world with her friends, collecting nativity sets everywhere. When she downsized her house, she donated the pieces to the Hospitality House. Henry has since passed away.
“Oh my god,” said Haynes as she collected the pieces in 2019. “They were in two large closets right behind the door and glass shelves filled with all of these nativity sets. It took my son and daughter and I 3 1/2 hours to pack them. “
The Hospitality House opened five years ago in September and in September this year Haynes presented the idea of the donation sale to the board of directors. She has spent the last 2 1/2 months unpacking the parts and getting them ready for sale.
The facility welcomes people from out of town who have medical needs and procedures in Las Cruces. People can stay up to two weeks and have their own room with a bathroom and TV with a shared kitchen and living room.
Haynes has been running the facility since the facility began five years ago. She said they thought they would have people from nearby communities like Alamogordo, Deming, and Silver City, but many come from further afield.
“Patients in these cities have moved to all sorts of states,” she said. “We had people from 35 states, 53 cities and towns in New Mexico and three other countries.”
Due to the pandemic, two of the four rooms are currently available to the house to maintain social distancing. And where families were previously allowed, space is limited to two people per room.
“We don’t charge them anything, but we can accept donations,” said Haynes. “I tell them it’s fine because when you have medical problems, you have money problems too. It is a Christian thing – to take care of others. “