Mary And Joseph Traveling To Bethlehem

The Elf on the Shelf movement is the craze today but when my children were small, and we were trying to keep Advent, our tradition was Mary and Joseph Traveling to Bethlehem.  Each evening after all were tucked in, Mary and Joseph mysteriously moved around the house from place to place necessitating a search the next morning.  Once found they were placed back in their places around the manger to wait for the birth of the baby Jesus.

The creche On Pinehurst Place is Fontanini, collected through the years, piece by piece…


The children were always excited when Mary and Joseph were found and it was my hope that this reminder each morning would keep us mindful of the real reason for our celebration of Christmas…


The creche has been set up in different places around the house – it landed this year on the piano…


and Mary and Joseph are right there awaiting the birth…


I hope you have a wonderful waiting Advent IV.

There are still a few more traveling days…

dog nativity

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  1. What a great and mindful tradition! I may have to pass that idea on. Merry Christmas!

  2. says:

    I always felt like it added to the spirit of Advent, glad you like!

  3. Margaret Tohill says:

    my mother gave me the initial set years ago, i think in the early 80’s or slightly before. the figures are large (hard to find that size for the last 10 years!). the thing i loved so much about my set (up now to about 35-40 pieces, i think) was that my children, my Sunday School kids, ALL kids could play with them, move them everywhere–the magi closer and closer to Bethlehem, the ‘Multitude of the Heavenly Host” flying around–without fear of breakage! a truly special component of a Tohill Christmas!

  4. This takes me back to Advent with young children P.E.S. (Pre-Elf on the Shelf). Elf on the Shelf reminds me of the song that scared me my entire Santa-believing childhood, “You Better Watch Out”. I vote for awaiting Jesus’s birth with Mary and Joseph!!!

    • says:

      I read a story somewhere recently about how a little girl was traumatized by her elf leaving for the year. I think the parents ended up explaining the whole thing and allowed her to keep the elf!

  5. says:

    Yes, I agree – they are beautiful but little hands cannot hurt them. I love mine too!