Christmas Night Blog Nativity Sets, Outdoor Christmas Displays
and Fontanini Creche Figures

Forget Russian-born Tchaikovsky – It’s the Germans who brought us the Nutcracker

June 15th, 2015 by admin

When we think of a nutcracker, we think of the ballet. It’s hard to picture anything but little Clara proudly holding her odd, wooden, colorful “doll.” The whole world is fascinated with the figure, but where did it all start? It definitely didn’t start with Christmas Eve, it didn’t start with a gift for a young girl, and it certainly didn’t start with a French ballet corps in the late 19th century.

Back in the 1500s the Erzgebirge region of Germany was known for its mining. Silver, tin and cobalt were produced – until the mines ran dry. Faced with a crisis of income, the Germans turned to their next big resource: trees. Before long this small pocket of Europe was famous for its handmade wooden crafts. There was a flood of exports: whimsical items like ornaments and cuckoo clocks…and, of course, nutcrackers.

True to Their Name

The original nutcrackers were just that – objects made, literally, to crack nuts. They were simple plier-like tools fashioned in the shapes of birds and animals. But as craftsmanship skills grew, so did the complexity of the figures. Suddenly the Germans were creating detailed nutcrackers resembling kings, policemen and soldiers. These likenesses are what we see in the nutcracker figures today.

Over time, nutcrackers went from an after-thought to a must-have. A standard European dessert table is full of “sweetmeats” – hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts. It wasn’t enough to have a single nutcracker on hand. If you were keeping up with the Joneses, you had to have an array of the figures – both functional and decorative.

The Big Boost

Alright, let’s be fair here. German craftsmen can’t take all the credit…and it’s not just about the nuts. Nutcrackers would still be a specialty item if Tchaikovsky hadn’t adapted an 1816 E.T.A. Hoffman Christmas story (The Nutcracker and the Mouse King) into a ballet. Shockingly, the ballet wasn’t a big hit when it was first performed in 1892. It took a couple of world wars and a slew of American G.I.s carting nutcrackers home to the U.S. for the whole phenomenon to take off.

The ballet, the music and the iconic wooden figure became an American cottage industry by the mid 1900s.

Don’t Let The Face Fool You

If the nutcracker is so outrageously popular, why does it look so dour? Can’t it crack a smile?

Not really. The nutcracker is a protector. Its teeth are bared to “crack the nut” and, according to folklore, to ward off evil spirits.

Legend has it that the figure – whether 6 inches or 6 feet, even 12 feet tall – is the equivalent of trusty watch dog.

This inanimate “watch dog” has had the same look and the same job for centuries… with no end in sight.

Don’t mess with perfection.


December 18th, 2014 by


Baptism by fire

Historic St. Anne’s Church in Waterbury, CT. suffered two fires in the 1970s. Gorgeous stained glass windows were lost. Smoke damage was extensive. Spectacular, colorful life-sized statues were beyond recognition.

The devastation continued when the church learned that insurance money would cover only a fraction of the costs. Enter Scott Whipple: local artist, painter, builder, restorer and philanthropist.

“I was overwhelmed… intimidated,” he said, at the thought of restoring any of St. Anne’s life-sized statues. Scott had never worked on anything so large.

But he jumped right in, starting with a smaller statue of St. Francis of Assisi and working his way up. Baptism by fire.

Everyone – clergy and parishioners – loved his work so he kept on going.

His favorite part about the process? Giving people back their cherished memories of church, one statue at a time. Despite his immense talent, Scott remains humble. “I’m still learning all the tricks of restoration. I’m learning as I go.”


“Nothing I could fix”

Fast-forward a few years and a few miles to his current project: The Blessed Sacrament Parish, also in Waterbury, CT.

His focus: the church’s Christmas scene.

“I had heard that nativity set that they set up every year was really tiny with mismatched pieces,” he says. He knew he couldn’t fix the figures with his own two hands it so he took a different route with his generosity.

Scott chipped in for a brand new nativity scene. After researching online he chose the 11-piece, 27-inch Joseph Studio set from ChristmasNight Inc. The collection was more than a pleasant surprise. He described its arrival “as one of those rare instances when you take something out of the box and say, ‘It’s even better than the photograph!’”


He then bought lumber and began building a manger. With a handyman’s skill he set up interior lighting. Wanting the beautiful display to be eye-level, he restored an old altar table from St. Anne’s so the figures could sit on the table itself rather than on the floor.


The idea is that people won’t simply look at the scene of the birth of Christ, but rather step right into it. The viewers will actually stand under the stable’s roof.

“You become part of it,” Scott says.

Hard to think of a better way of celebrating Christmas than by becoming part of it.


Lights, Camel, Action!

See photos of Scott’s work below…



October 8th, 2014 by

Like many companies selling directly to consumers, we offer easily accessible and useable product information, shipping information and pricing combined with timely email notifications at each step. Our company rule is to treat the customer the way we would like to be treated.

Occasionally, we have problems with parts of our system which frustrate customers as they would frustrate anybody and we do our best to solve the problem while keeping in mind what the customer really wants, which is not excuses, but a sincere apology, an explanation of the problem and assurance that the problem has been resolved.

We thought that the email dialogue below, apart from making us feel like we are doing something right, would nicely summarize our approach

Email from Customer;

Comments: Hi. I would like to know why my order is “on hold”? What does that mean? I ordered the nativity pieces with the understanding they would be shipped within 1 business day. It took me over a week to get the shipping calculator to operate correctly, so I could order the items. It kept saying “retrieving quotes”. I quit trying after a hour of waiting for it to retrieve a quote after each time. I finally had success with it on Monday. Thank you.


Our Reply:
Our apologies for our poor communication, both for not replying to your email and for the difficulties you had with the shipping prices and then the HOLD. The later is an internal designation which says your order has been tagged for immediate shipping. It’s not something we intended for you to see. The late reply and shipping problems were mail server and software problems which have been corrected.

We hope your order arrived in good time and in good condition.

Thank you for shopping at Christmas Night.

And the Customer’s reaction;
Thanks so much for your reply. My items did arrive in a timely fashion and in good condition. Last year I bought the Holy Family pieces from another website but I found your website last spring and enjoy the fact that it is a website where complete nativity collections are sold, as a set and as individual pieces.

I just wanted to make you aware of the issues I was having with your website. I figured it was probably a website server issue, since I tried on 3 computers and my smartphone over a week.

Joseph's Studio Christmas Nativity 40 inch scale 13 piece

The pieces are beautiful and it was worth the initial frustration.

I plan to order other pieces for the Joseph Studios 40-inch nativity. Next year I plan to order the angel and shepherd, which requires special shipping quotes, so I am sure we will be in contact with one another again. I then will order the 3 wise men and camel the following year.

Thanks again for your apologies and explanations. Excellent customer service.


Customer service doesn’t finish when the product is delivered!


Christmas in Texas

September 16th, 2014 by

The night sky in southwest Texas is…Big.

You can see the constellations.

You can see shooting stars out your bedroom window.

Come Thanksgiving, another bright light will Illuminate the landscape.

Carolyn and Cliff Tuttle, owners of Hashknife Ranch near Fredericksburg, TX, have built an authentic, life-sized nativity barn.


Imagine driving down a dark road in December and noticing flood lights in the distance. As you continue, figures take shape and you realize you are approaching a stunning recreation of the birth of Jesus Christ

“There’s not much light out here on a dark winter’s night,” says Carolyn. “It will be quite spectacular.”

The three-sided barn is up and ready. What began as mere sketches and measurements a few months ago gelled into a plan. With the help of good friends, Mike and Nancy Craddock, the Tuttles began building.

Cedar wood from dismantled corrals and fences was hauled in for the barn’s siding. A bobcat was fired up to clear dirt, rocks and native vegetation and make way for a cement floor. A tin roof was recycled from an old barn. And finally a trench was dug to run electrical wire to power the flood lights and star

The only thing missing? The nativity figures.

“We started looking around on the internet.” Carolyn noted. “We couldn’t find anything that struck us, until we got to ChristmasNight,Inc.”

The Tuttles purchased a full manger scene in alabaster and they couldn’t be happier.


When opening the boxes, “we oohed and aahed at everything,” says Carolyn.

They are amazed at the details: The fingernails on the wise men, the curls on the sheep, the textured fabric draped on the camel’s back, the expression on the angel’s face. Everything is life-like. Even the lanterns are impressive: each one hangs separately and gives added dimension to the scene.

“We couldn’t have been any more pleased,” she says. “I would recommend it without a doubt. It would enrich anybody’s store, home or church.”

The Tuttles have repacked the figures and are storing them until November. They are eager for the holiday season.

“We are blessed to live here,” Carolyn adds. “The most important idea we wanted to convey was to glorify God and to honor Him.”

Photos with the complete nativity scene will be shown after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!

An Exciting New Supplier

May 22nd, 2014 by

holiday-nativity-set-led-display-13pcWhat do Universal Studios, Radio City Music Hall, Sak’s Fifth Avenue and the Indianapolis Zoo have in common with Christmas Night? They all feature large outdoor Holiday Displays made by GP Designs of Marion Indiana. Our Christmas Night customers, whether they be homeowners looking for an eye catching outdoor Santa/Sleigh or a church wanting to show the real meaning of the Christmas season with a large outdoor Nativity ,will now have access to the best quality and most attractive holiday light displays available, offering longer life and lower maintenance.

Offering commercial product design and quality for the consumer, GP Designs maintains total control of all it’s products and services in-house, in it’s highly efficient facility centrally located in Marion IN. From initial  design and manufacturing, through powder coating, decorating, lighting and final shipment, GP Designs is always  in control and customer oriented.

Just as important to Christmas Night and our customers is that GP Designs is owned and operated by nice people. The Loer family, Dave the President and CEO, Sandra the VP Administration, their son KC, Sales Rep and Social Media Coordinator and Rick Dillon  the Vice President Operations, all really care about family values and treating their customers the way they would like themselves  to be treated

Christmas Night is now offering, on our website, a range of Nativity and Christmas display figures from GP Designs. Please visit us and see for yourself.



March 18th, 2014 by admin
We design and build special crates with solid floors for Christmas Night's four legged animals

We design and build special crates with solid floors for Christmas Night’s four legged animals


Finished Toy Soldiers line up ready to board the boat for USA


Working on model for Giant Giraffe


King Gaspar waiting outside the factory


Alain and Robert finishing models for Christmas Night’s 6 foot Giant nativity Set


Making last minute changes to the paint colors before photography of the new 6 foot Nativity Set

From time to time we will share with you the process that we use to create our new and, in many cases, unique, decorative and religious figures. They all start in the mind , eyes and hands of Claire our very talented designer. The resulting images and dimensions are communicated to our factories electronically as is progress on each project. We also visit the factories at least twice a year to tweak and approve the designs. We also constantly work on improving our packaging so the product is delivered to you in perfect condition.

We have some pictures which will illustrate some example. Please note, we will not be offering the giraffe statue.


February 5th, 2014 by blogadmin

For our Christmas vacation 2012 we decided to visit Panama. We had heard many favorable stories of beautiful beaches, accessible jungle adventures, friendly people, a sophisticated capital city and they use the US dollar. We also rationalized that it would be a great opportunity to see the Panama Canal, where all our Asian container ships pass through on their way to deliver our Christmas Nativities and displays to our New York warehouse.

Well we went to Panama and enjoyed it so much that we returned this year for Christmas 2013. In addition to all the the things we found and enjoyed in 2012, we found the Panamanians, particularly in the countryside, celebrated Christmas as the birth of Christ. Nativities and Church services were more important than gift giving.

We have some wonderful pictures of the Panamanian version of the the true meaning of Christmas. We enjoyed this old fashioned Christmas and we hope you do as well.


January 24th, 2014 by blogadmin

Thanks to our wonderful customers, both new and returning, we had a successful 2013 season. Many of our website visitors already know this, as they have found their product choices sold out. We are working on re-stocking and expect to have most items in inventory between March 1 and May 15. A few items will not arrive until mid July.

In the meantime, we are offering our “Pay Later” Layaway purchase plan, as explained on our website and a pre-order option which protects the customer from possible price increases in product and shipping costs, with payment in advance. A pre-order customer is guaranteed not to be disappointed by finding an item sold out for the season as early as November 1.

We are improving our packaging by providing more external protection and cushioning against occasional rough handling by the courier and trucking companies. We will also be offering more  truck shipping options including priority, guaranteed day and time and “white glove” special handling which include inside delivery, product set up and removal of pallet and shipping material. For ground and courier shipments we will be offering more  products with flat rate and free shipping.

In 2014, we are introducing a number of new and redesigned products. There will be new dog statues, animals and saints for our Saint Francis Garden site and new Soldier/Nutcracker and Santa figures and redesigned Nativity figures for Christmas Night site. We will publish more details and photos of these as they come out of our factories

We are improving the speed and functionality of our websites and shopping baskets and creating sites that are equally at home on smart phones, tablets,  PC’s and Mac’s.

We will continue to update these posts, particularly as we are able to announce and display our new and redesigned products.


November 1st, 2013 by blogadmin

Our business is mostly about Christmas. So when Labor Day is gone, Columbus Day is on the horizon and the leaves are turning and then falling, our excitement builds as we become busier and busier with calls and orders for our Nativities , Nutcrackers, Santa and Toy Soldiers.santa-sleigh-reindeer

Since I like to cook, the change of seasons means a change in the kind of dishes I prepare. Gone are the salads and lobster rolls, steamers and burgers on the grill. Instead we eat roasted chicken with root vegetables, chicken fricassee, steak and fries and salmon prepared several different ways. Roasted duck is a favorite and various hearty pastas, including a sinfully good carbonara with eggs and cream. I had better stop. This list is making me hungry.

Other pleasures to anticipate are the special seasonal items made by our local bakery cafe. Our town is blessed with a world class bakery cafe owned by a professionally trained perfectionist and employing some of the best pastry and bread bakers in the country. I would compare our gem to the best shops in the largest cities and our bakery would still come out ahead.

During the summer, our bakery  cafe produces fruit pies with seasonal berries, plums and fresh figs. When fall comes they  switch to pumpkin and apple pies ,as well as southern pecan pie. Thanksgiving brings cranberry walnut pie, pumpkin-caramel pecan pie and , our favorite, chocolate-pecan pie. Then there is something called a Plymouth described as “layers of chocolate mousse, pecan meringue and pumpkin mousse”. Delicious!desserts

Baked Christmas goodies include Christmas pastry cream logs and Christmas cakes with preserved fruit, but nothing like the pies. Having worked with Christmas decorations all year long, we travel at Christmas. Someplace sunny and warm. A different kind of Christmas.



4 Pound Chicken cut into 10 pieces, Flour, Olive oil. Three cups thin sliced yellow onion, Chopped garlic clove, Juice of one lemon, Lemon cut into 10 slices, 2 cups chicken stock, 8 sprigs fresh thyme, salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F, Dredge the chicken pieces in flour  and salt and pepper and brown completely in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Remove and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook at medium low for 20 minutes until soft. Add thyme and chicken pieces. Pour in stock and squeeze lemon over chicken. Place  lemon pieces on top of chicken pieces, cover pan and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook another 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes until done. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve on a platter with a bitter green vegetable, such as broccolini, and french bread

The History of Halloween Traditions

October 11th, 2013 by admin

Halloween is definitely an underrated holiday. There’s no denying that it’s a lot of fun, but lets take a second to think about what it means to most people. Eating candy? A party? And that’s about it. For a lot of people it’s a very forgettable holiday. You think about it and then it’s over before you know it. When you stop and take a second to think about it, though, Halloween is really quite interesting. It originates from a Celtic holiday called “Samhain”, which is derived from an ancient Irish word meaning “summer’s end.” And when I think Halloween, I think three major traditions: pumpkins, costumes, and trick-or-treating. Here’s a brief history on why these traditions define Halloween today!


Pumpkin carving — a classic part of Halloween. But when you think about it, it’s actually kind of funny. Why do we do we display pumpkins? What’s the point of a jack-o-lantern? Long long ago, people of the Celtic religion would take turnips and use them to ward off evil spirits. They would carve out these turnips and put candles in them, and place them in front of their house. Over time, for one reason or another, we’ve adopted pumpkins as the fruit of choice. And yes, pumpkins are a fruit, that’s another fact for you! As with a lot of Irish history and old wise tales, you’ll never read exactly the same story about the origination about jack-o-lanterns. One old wise tale claims that an old drunken man named Jack had interactions with the devil, and when he died, he wasn’t allowed in heaven or hell. He roamed earth for a night with a turnip and a candle, and so it was Jack’s lantern.


In ancient history, those who celebrated Samhain were celebrating the end of a harvest, and they believed there were two parts to a year; a lighter half and a darker half. In the darker half, people would wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. But they weren’t the costumes you might think. They really just dressed up as people that would be in a church (example: a saint). In the late 1800′s, Halloween started to become more of a party for people to get together. And in even more recent times, Halloween started becoming a “dress-up” holiday. The baby boomer generation was really the start of all the costumes you see today.


trick or treating
When you were a kid, you probably remember trick-or-treating as being a wonderful event. Who doesn’t love free candy? But where does it originate, you ask? In the mid 1800′s there was an Irish practice called “souling” and people would walk around villages asking for soul cakes. In exchange for a soul cake, the person souling would have to say a prayer for a dead relative of the person giving them a soul cake. The practice eventually got adapted into the modern day Halloween, and as what seems to happen with a lot of events, the religious aspect got forgotten about. And when America picked it up, it didn’t start as the ultimate candy holiday like it is today. People used to give things like apples, or sometimes money.

Which part of Halloween is your favorite? Let us know!