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

OUR CREATIVE PROCESS

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

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

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Working on model for Giant Giraffe

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King Gaspar waiting outside the factory

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

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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.

OUR PANAMA CHRISTMAS – YEAR TWO

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.

NEW @ CHRISTMAS NIGHT FOR 2014

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.

EATING MY WAY TO CHRISTMAS

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.

Recipe for LEMON CHICKEN FRICASSEE:

INGREDIENTS

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

Jack-o'-lanterns
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!

Pumpkins:

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.

Costumes:

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:

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!

OFF TO A FAST START FOR THIS CHRISTMAS!

September 20th, 2013 by blogadmin

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The day after Labor Day may seem centuries away from Christmas, but that’s not the way the Christmas event planners, seasonal decorators and specialty retailers see it. These hard working and talented professionals have been researching customer requests and working on major projects for months and many are now placing orders for Nutcrackers, Caroler Sets and Santa, Sleigh and Reindeer

In addition, most military budgets finish on September 30, so the army base chapels and navy commissaries around the country and overseas are rushing to use some of their “use it or lose it” remaining funds to upgrade their Nativity or add Large Toy Soldiers to their Christmas decorations.

Military budgets, like most government budgets, are adjusted the following year based on what was used in the past year. We are not sure what affect the new government austerity will have on future expenditures..

Since these bases are the “home away from home” for military personnel at Christmas, these decorations must be important for their celebrations.

There have been several requests for a ten foot Nutcracker, twelve foot Nutcracker and a nine foot Nutcracker on a Drum. The popularity of the indoor Santa, Sleigh and Huskies gave rise to an outdoor version with beautiful fiberglass dogs. The traditional version of the Santa, Sleigh with reindeer continues to be in high demand for private homes as well as shopping centers.

This season, so far, has seen increased demand for full life size 6 foot scale Nativities, which is purchased by shopping centers, municipalities and businesses as well as churches and some very large and devout private homes.

The trend toward Christmas decorating with outdoor figures continues to grow. There are more figures available, the figures are durable and the finish is bright and long lasting.

5 Reasons We Love Fall

September 3rd, 2013 by admin

The crisp breeze signifies that summer is gone and fall is in the air. We love fall; it has a beauty all to its own. From warm apple cider to autumn leaves, there are so many reasons to enjoy fall. Here are five things about the season that we love:

It's fall, really

The Changing Leaves

If you are blessed to live in a place where the leaves change color, you know why fall foliage is one of the reasons we love this season. Walking down a tree-lined street to see a canopy of orange, yellow and red leaves is thrilling. In Upstate New York, the leaves typically peak in late October. A good amount of colorful foliage lasts through Thanksgiving and even into the wintery months.

Fall Clothes

Fall clothing is just wonderful! As the temperature begins to drop, we take our fall essentials out of retirement. We’re talking about boots, sweaters and scarves. Nothing feels as delightful on a crisp fall day as a wool sweater and pair of comfortable boots. Well, maybe a cup of warm apple cider would make the day even better!

Pumpkin Everything

Whether it’s a baked good, drink or savory dish, when September rolls around and our taste buds salivate at the thought of all things pumpkin. Ice cream, coffee, pale ales, and more all come out in pumpkin flavors during the fall. Pumpkins can also make the best fall décor. Decorate your Thanksgiving table with a beautiful pumpkin centerpiece. Another seasonal favorite is pumpkin carving!

Thanksgiving

While Christmas is our favorite holiday, we really enjoy Thanksgiving too. This autumn holiday is special for a couple reasons. Thanksgiving has both religious and cultural traditions. Not only do you gather around a table and spend time with loved ones, but you also have the opportunity to reflect on all the things that you are thankful for. And we have a lot to be thankful for!

Christmas Planning

We simply adore Christmas and fall is the perfect time to think about to the holiday season. For instance, setting a holiday budget now will make it easier to achieve all your Christmas goals later. More important, planning early will allow you to enjoy the holiday season, rather than get caught up in the hustle and bustle. If you start Christmas planning now, you will reap benefits come December!

Tell us what you think. We want to know your favorite things about fall!

Too Early for Christmas?

August 14th, 2013 by blogadmin

Christmas Night recently sent out an email newsletter, featuring two new large (and expensive) Christmas displays. We featured our new Silver Santa Sleigh and Reindeer in a Facebook ad and on our page. We had a lot of favorable comments but we had several comments, such as “Not now” or Too early for Christmas” or one of those text abbreviations  that I can never figure out.

We understand that some lovers of Christmas feel that the whole celebration has become too commercial and promotion of Christmas should wait until just before Thanksgiving. We want to point out some reasons why we communicate our new and featured items as early as we do.

1. Shopping malls, municipalities and large businesses plan their Christmas displays in advance, sometimes 8 to 10 months ahead. They will often request display plans and proposals from design and decoration firms, who in turn approach us for product information and quotations. Often the mall or company will contact us directly and we may have to bring in custom product for them, which may take 4 to 5 months

2. We begin selling Nativities and outdoor Christmas displays in April/May. Many times, customers who missed out last season, because we were sold out, will buy early to avoid the same problem. This means that we must often adjust our new factory orders and let customers know what we have.

3. Many people with large displays at their home or business, have already purchased the traditional Christmas figures, such as Santa, Snowman, Toy Soldier etc. and are looking for new and different designs. We design much of our product and Claire, our inventor/designer is always looking for a new approach or look to the traditional figures. Most of these new designs sell out when customers discover them.

4. Our supply chain is from the Philippines, China and the USA. Turnaround time from  Christmas Night placing the order until the container arrives at our warehouse is 10 to 12 weeks overseas and 1 to 4 weeks locally . The later in the season, the longer the lead time. This means that our last overseas order must be placed by the first week in September.

5. Many of our customers anticipate our deliveries by placing advance orders for product on the water ( in transit) or on order. We assist the ordering by offering a “Pay Later” layaway plan. This helps us plan our purchases and helps our customers avoid disappointment.

So we apologize to  customers and fans who think we are rushing Christmas, but we are primarily doing this so we don’t disappoint customers and to avoid a panic in our office. Besides we love Christmas and the arrival of every new container is like Christmas morning under the tree.santasnowedunder

Celebrate Christmas in July!

July 5th, 2013 by admin

Christmas in July is an unofficial holiday celebrated by many people. It is especially popular among people in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa because in the southern hemisphere, winter falls in July. Therefore, these countries celebrate Christmas as a way to embrace the winter spirit.

Here are five ways you too can celebrate Christmas in July:

Watch Christmas movies

You don’t have to wait until December to watch your favorite holiday classics. This July, rent all of your favorite holiday movies and spend the weekend having a holiday movie marathon. Make your Christmas in July experience more realistic by turning the air conditioner on high and breaking out your fleece blanket.

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Get a head start on holiday shopping

We all know how packed shopping malls can get during the holidays. Take this opportunity to hit up flea markets and outlet malls for gifts. Just think, when the holidays finally roll around, you will already have a lot of your shopping done. Plus, you’ll end up saving money during the holiday season. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you don’t have to spend most of your holiday stuck in a mall.

Bake your favorite treats

Love peppermint and gingerbread cookies? Now you can enjoy your favorite holiday goodies in July. Pop in your favorite holiday cd and spend the day (or weekend) baking. Wrap up a plate of cookies and drop them off at your neighbor’s house. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Volunteer at a local shelter

Get into the holiday spirit by giving back. Whether you prefer four legs or two, volunteering at a local animal or homeless shelter is the perfect way to spread the holiday spirit. You will feel great about it and the shelter can definitely use your help. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are really about?

Host a summer soiree

Summer is the perfect time to get the family together for a backyard barbecue. Cook traditional bbq foods but try to incorporate some summer twists on the traditional holiday drinks like chilled eggnog or red and green margaritas. You can also rename some traditional summer games such as horseshoes to “Reindeer Shoes” for added fun. Don’t forget to break out those holiday decorations for your Christmas in July.

It’s never too early to get into the Christmas spirit, and now you can celebrate the holiday season more than once a year. Enjoy the true meaning of Christmas without the commercialism. Celebrate all day or all month, the choice is up to you. Simply reflect on what Christmas time means to you, then try to recreate that feeling and have a good time!

NEW PRODUCTS

June 17th, 2013 by blogadmin

The lifeblood of our business is new products. This is true for any company selling to consumers, but it is somewhat more difficult for us in the Christmas business. Many Christmas figures and images are religious and or traditional. Granted, the images may reflect  local or regional visions and values, such as the difference between the “Coca Cola Santa” in the US and “Sinter Claus” in parts of Europe.

Christmas Nativity figures try to duplicate the Nativity story as originated by St Francis of Assisi and as imagined by European painters and sculptors, both in medieval times and during and after the Renaissance. The Italians generally do it best, but in their strongly individualistic way, are known to include Elvis and other celebrities in their Nativity scenes.  Fontanini, the  Italian family firm which has specialized in producing Nativity scenes of all sizes for over 100 years, has added more animals and figures of medieval “village people”. These are probably more consistent with the original vision of St Francis, who used real people and animals in his Nativity scenes.

Santa Sled with Husky Dogs

Santa Sled with Husky Dogs

Many non-religious Christmas figures are derived from the “Night Before Christmas” poem. These include Santa Claus, Reindeer and Sleigh and Santa’s Elves. Children’s tales turned into ballet  and movies provided the images of Toy Soldiers, Nutcrackers and Bears. Recent innovations include the “Victorian” figures including Carolers and Lamp Post.

So much of our new product effort is offering a new version of the classic figures, that the challenge is making the figures new and different and still appealing and seasonal. Fortunately our founder and president , Claire, is a fine arts grad and photographer with an excellent eye and color sense as well as the extreme patience and attention to detail necessary to produce winning designs. We are also fortunate to be working with several factories whose owners understand the importance of new products and employ skilled designers and sculptors.

Our latest product introduction, the enormous 12 foot Nutcracker King, item 37001, is an example of our team in action. Claire provide the original design and the factory sculpted the figure which Claire fine tuned. The factory then produced the mold and created the prototype colors and decorations based on Claire’s design. The factory also determined the sizes of the various parts and how they will be attached together for the final giant piece. The final result is a unique figure which will decorate many shopping malls, retail stores, city centers and even some mansions next Christmas.

Here is a link to our press release announcing the introduction of the 12 foot Nutcracker King