Friday, December 31, 2010


We love nativities. We are up to about 60 in various forms. This Jim Shore nativity was a gift to Marie on the December birth of Will six years ago.
The afghan depicts the three wise men who "came bearing gifts" if was a gift years ago from my sister Mary. We have a small pillow nativity plus two camel pillows--one from Jerusalem and one in red from Dubai. The newly hung "paintings" represent our sacred place wall. On the left is a 1930s photo of the temple mount and the old city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives--with its shepherd and olive tree. In the center is a wooden mosaic of the Logan temple. While serving in Indonesia in 1976 I commissioned a man to make it using two photos I had of the temple. It cost me $25. On the right is an Egyptian papyrus showing the final judgment and entering into the presence of the god/king.
The painting of the Wellsville Mountains and Cache Valley was commissioned by my dad. The six children all got a reprint for Christmas a few years ago. The wooden German nativity is from Rothenburg when I went to visit Bill and family. Irish nativity in green--a gift to Marie who was born in Ireland. And a nice illustration of Mary and child from a children's Christmas book--a gift to Marie on Sarah's first Christmas. The red tapestry is from Bethlehem last year.
We bought shelves this year to hold more nativities. This shelf includes gifts from neighbors, a Venezuelan nativity (front right) from Marie's sister Jan and the center nativity made from clay pots by Sarah under Marie's direction at an activity day two years ago.
This porcelain nativity was a gift from my parents years ago. The angels were Marie's first angels. She now has many more.
Three different olive wood nativities form the holy land. I bought the front one on my first trip to Bethlehem in 1979.
On the top shelf is a hand-painted-in China nativity ornament (from Pier One) and a Greek Orthodox icon of the Nativity from Athens.
A bamboo Indonesian nativity from Marie's sister Jan--who lived with her family in Jakarta for 13 years.
Marie's first nativity is in the center.
Marie and I bought this olive wood nativity on our first trip to the Holy Land in 1997.
Marie stitched this ornament for me as a Christmas gift about three years before we got married. We have many other nativity type ornaments on the tree--shepherds, sheep, camels, wisemen, small olive wood nativities, angels, stars.
An Egyptian nativity in Coptic Christian style from Marie's parents who while serving as mission president in Greece were also tasked with over seeing church units in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
An Amish wood cut nativity bought in Arthur Illinois and a Christmas gift from my brother Jake. The flight into Egypt is on papyrus and was a gift to me from our Egyptian guide Ahmed last year in Cairo.
Arnold Frieburg's three wise men.
A wood burned nativity from the Munoz family.
A Carl Bloch painting
Jerusalem tile and Jerusalem mosaic.
Sarah's art work age four.
More of Sarah's art work--age five. One of my favorites. One of my Mom's favorite nativities is a clay nativity I molded and painted for her in fourth grade (is it still legal to make hand made nativities in elementary school?).
Shepherd and sheep from Jerusalem
Armenian tile from Jerusalem
Marie's hand stitched Christmas stocking
Tiny match box nativity hand made by Sister Spencer and given by her to Marie last year at a Relief Society gathering in Tiberius.
Chilean nativity given to us by the Munoz family--friends from the Spring Creek 18th ward. The camel pitcher behind is from Bethlehem.
Marie's Christmas present last year. A hand made Armenian pomegranate Nativity from a nice shop just inside Zion's gate in Jerusalem's Armenian quarter.
On the left a Puerto Rican tile--a gift to Marie from a student years ago. We bought the blue glass nativity on our honeymoon in Victoria British Columbia. Marie made the white tile nativity at a Relief Society event.
A Mexican nativity from my 1993 trip to Mexico
On the left is Marie's Christmas gift this year--a Delft Nativity that Sarah and I bought for her in Amsterdam this summer. Marie bought the Russian nesting Nativity in Bethlehem last summer. I bought the Polish nativity on the right in Krakow back in about 1995,
An angel choir made of bamboo in Indonesia.
Marie's angel wall. Each year I try to give her an angel or a nativity.

Our fresh cut Christmas tree. It is decorated with dozens of white snowflakes hand tatted by my grandmother Veara Fife. During her 90's she made hundred of these snowflakes--each is unique.


We had lots of fun this December. The first weekend was a BYU weekend. On Friday night Sarah, Joel and I enjoyed the BYU combined Choirs Christmas concert. It was fun to see and hear many of our Jerusalem Center students. Saturday morning we went to the annual faculty and staff family Christmas party in the Wilkinson Center (where Joel and Will made BYU ornaments) followed by Christmas shopping in the bookstore. That afternoon we all enjoyed the BYU Folk dancers' Christmas around the world. I was a two time dancer in Christmas around the world while working on a master's degree at BYU. That night we all went to the geography department Christmas party at at BYU lodge up Hobble Creek canyon.

Joel (standing) reciting his part at the Brookside Elementary Christmas program. The students sang Christmas related songs (some even Christ related!) from around the world.
Joel and class playing the ukulele.
For Will's actual birthday two friends came over for some creative star wars playing before they all went to afternoon kindergarten. That evening our family enjoyed a birthday diner at Brick Oven.
Later that week other friends joined Will for more celebrating at Jump On It.
Wall to wall trampolines--they had a blast.

Ward Christmas breakfast and nativity. Joel is a wiseman.
Will with a brown Jedi style shepherd's robe.

Our family was one of many who did not win the lottery for the annual Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert with David Archuletta. My sister-in-law Lorie however was much luckier. She submitted requests for every place of residence of her married children and was able to score 20 tickets!. In November I drove to Smithfield (two hour drive) after work to show Holy Land/Christmas slides to her Relief Society. Lorie's kind and gracious thanks to me was four tickets to the concert and a David Archuletta Christmas CD. Sweet! We left Will in the care of Grandma Emmett (who came to stay with us for the weekend to hear us all speak in sacrament meeting) and the rest of us drove to SLC for a great event.

On December 23rd. We hosted an Emmett family visit to the BYU Museum of Art for the wonderful Carl Bloch Exhibit. We then had 35 of the clan come over for a dinner of Grandpa Emmett's famous curry.

Christmas Eve at Aunt Anna's
The tradition is to have a Mexican meal followed by a Mexican posada where the holy family goes from room to to room seeking lodging only to be turned away by many flimsy and humorous excuses.

We then listened to Grandpa Tueller read from Luke 2.
Then Aunt Diane (visiting from Boston) entertained us, along with Sarah and cousin Emma, to her traditional angel dance!
Marie with four of her seven sisters.

When we got back to our home I read a childhood favorite to the children. This was a present to the Emmett children in 1958 from my Grandma and Grandpa Fife. My mom still has the original. I have a reprint that my parents gave to all of us in 1987. Dad would read from this book every Christmas eve. Its text is the Luke and Matthew accounts of the birth and childhood of Jesus. One of my favorite Christmas books.

The illustrators (Maud and Miska Petersham) traveled to the holy land in around 1930 so all of the art work looks very real from the Palestinian robes and kafiyyehs to the domed roofs, stone arches, limestone hills, red anemones, sheep and camels.
Waiting to go out and see what Santa brought.

After opening presents we went to my sister Mary's for a traditional Emmett Christmas breakfast of Aebelskivers and sliced oranges with powdered sugar on top. That evening all of the Tueller family came to our place for a nice spread of Chinese take out. We ate it while watching the last 15 minutes of the Christmas Story where the family goes to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas. After dinner lethargy kicked in.
Aunt Diane surprised our kids with great gifts including Joel's Celtics shirt.
Next day after church we drove to Logan for the Emmett celebration. We started with a nativity.
Followed by a talent show and then community singing.

Next day 33 Emmetts descended on Beaver Mountain for a great day of skiing. All six Emmett children were there with many of their children and one grand child. Sarah, Joel and Will did great after a year hiatus from skiing. We all missed Grandpa Emmett. He loved days like this--the whole famdamily skiing and lunching together.