A Sneak Peek at the Wooden Christmas Ornaments and Nativity Sets for 2017
Growing up my family owned a wood window factory and I loved the smell of freshly milled wood when I went to visit my Dad at his office. He had a deep admiration for people who could turn natural wood into pieces of art - whether it was a window or a piece of furniture or an ornament.
The Holzkunst or wood crafters of the Erzgebirge region of eastern Germany are renowned for the hand carved pieces they create for Christmas. We had the pleasure of travelling in this area with our kids and my inlaws some years ago and actually celebrated Christmas there in the hills at a beautiful hunting lodge.
We'd love to hear your feedback - click here to send us an email with your suggestions and comments - whether you call them Nativity Scenes or Sets, Krippe, Mangers or Creches. There are so many beautiful sets to choose from and so many talented craftspeople in Germany - it's going to be hard to commit to only a few sets!
Björn Köhler - Handcrafted in the town of Eppendorf near Dresden, we love the smooth curves and natural wood grain of this Nativity Scene. The figures are stained with translucent colours to enhance the grain.
Björn Köhler is a professional wood turner who learnt his trade from the bottom up. What I love about his collections is that they combine traditional craftsmanship with very contemporary design. Hand turned Nativity figures are costly but are a tradition that one enjoys for decades and is passed from one generation to the next.
Günter Reichel - Another Holzkunststudio (wood craft studio) in the Ore Mountains, Reichel started his career as a new products engineer at a large toy company before making his ideas in his own shop. This year Reichel introduces a new Nativity in addition to the Set we already carry. I love the raw wood and almost industrial lines of the new set as much as I love the detailed whimsy of the original. Which do you prefer?
Ostheimer Holzspielzeug - The relation of Nativity Sets and Toys is an interesting one. On the one hand I feel that Nativity Sets are too fragile and too expensive and often carry too much family history to be in the hands of children. On the other hand, children learn best when they can feel and interact with the story and the soft edges, the smooth wood grain and the beautiful translucent colours of German Nativity Sets made for children are so enticing...to children adults.
In the past we carried the Holztiger Nativity and we loved it but...the pieces were kind of big. So we have chosen a different German toy maker for 2017 - Ostheimer Holzspielzeug (wooden toys). I love both sets we're offering this year: the Rainbow Block Set Nativity is so colourful and kid-friendly and interactive. And the Nativity with Diorama in its handy box is just so...handy (and beautiful and whimsical)!
Bettina Franke Holzkunst - We're adding one more of Franke's Nativities to our array this year. I love the "hewn" look of her figures and I love the soft yet dramatic colours she chooses for each figure. The 3 Bettina Franke Nativities are quite small - making them perfect for a small home or apartment. But the detail is quite remarkable - the straw in the corner and in the manger of the triangle Nativity, the tree made of twigs in the small square Nativity and the crowns and gifts of the Kings in the new Nativity for 2017.
I've been fascinated with Nativity Sets for years and have started a Pinterest Board collecting some of the most unique and beautiful sets I have come across - check it out by clicking here.
Christmas Collections will be available for pre-order as of August 21, 2017. Christmas orders ship from our warehouse in early November when all of our shipments arrive from Germany.
Owner @ Gingerbread World