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

Archive for the ‘Useful Information about Outdoor Christmas’ Category

OFF TO A FAST START FOR THIS CHRISTMAS!

Friday, September 20th, 2013

santa-sleigh-reindeer

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

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

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?

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

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!

Friday, July 5th, 2013

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!

Five Ways to Care for Your Outdoor Christmas and Garden Statues

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Christmas Night (and Saint Francis Garden) specializes in Christmas and Garden statues which are made of fiberglass and generally displayed outside the home. Any manufactured item, such as patio furniture, the siding on your house or children’s toys, when left outside in the sun and the elements, will fade, painted or not.. Direct sunlight will cause faster fading. Painted statues left in standing water or ice covered may chip. As our weather becomes more unstable, outdoor statues may be blown over or damaged by hail and wind. Statues may be knocked over by lawnmowers, pets or children.

Here are some recommendations for protecting and refurbishing your lawn statues and outdoor  Christmas decorations.

1. Tether the taller statues using flexible wire or nylon line or ties attached to fixed points such as fence posts or tent connections or a piece of re-bar hammered into the ground. Statues can be screwed onto a wood base or propped up with sand bags.  Tethering will eliminate or reduce falls caused by strong wind or vandalism. Nativity creche sets are often displayed in wooden stable which can provide some protection, particularly if the church or individual covers the front of the stable with clear unbreakable resin plastic.

Nativity protected by Stable and Clear Plastic

Nativity protected by Stable and Clear Plastic

2. If your statue has a small crack, through a fall, or has small chips coming off for any reason, we recommend repair with  a product called Marine Tex. This can be found in small repair kits purchased at www.jamestowndistributors.com.

3. Extensive cracking, broken parts or holes will require repair by an expert in fiberglass use and repair. Often a technician who repairs boats or other fiberglass structures such as tanks can be found online. In some parts of the country there are artists who work in materials such as fiberglass, who may also be found online.

4. A statue with a few small paint chips may be repainted. We recommend Testors flat enamel which can be found at http://www.megahobby.com/testors-paint-for-plastic-models.aspx. Be sure to purchase all the matching colors to restore the original look. Also be sure to sand the chipped areas with fine sand paper before painting.

5. If your product has faded badly or has extensive chipping, it will need complete repainting. Unless you are an artist who wants to take on the challenge, we suggest repainting in one color or a few simple colors. Go to your local paint or hardware store and ask for outdoor paint suitable for use on fiberglass. Match your colors and don’t forget to sand all the areas to be painted. Let the paint  dry completely before  trying antique finishing. If you decide to antique, pick an antique color and water it down. Saturate a cotton cloth with the antique color, squeeze out the excess paint and wipe the areas you want to add to. Immediately use a dry cloth to clean off the antique color from the adjacent areas you do not want antiqued. Do this quickly, one area at a time, before the wash dries

A carefully refurbished Christmas or Garden statue will add to the pride of ownership and display, because you have done it or supervised it yourself. It may be a way for a dedicated parishioner to do something extra for their church or a member of the community to contribute. Refurbishing will extend the life of your statues and your enjoyment of them.

Disappearing Reindeer?

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Just in time for Christmas, the New York Times published an op-ed piece by a Canadian wildlife biologist Justina Ray entitled ReindeerAre Fading Into Holiday Myth . Her premise was that climate change and development make it hard for the caribou (also called reindeer) to survive. According to the article, development projects and resource exploration are shrinking their wilderness refuge and roads and other access for resource development are making it easier for hunters to reach the caribou. I guess the controversial Keystone IX oil pipeline project to carry Canadian Tar Sands oil to the US Gulf and the whole Canadian Tar Sands development are part of this dramatic reduction in the Caribou habitat.

Apparently global climate change and instability is also a major factor in caribou herd reduction. In their normal environment, as harsh as it is, who would have thought that too much ice and snow would harm them-but it make it difficult to find their food sources under the snow pack. Combined with unpredictable weather and the increased number of forest fires and tundra fires caused by this, there is much higher calf and female mortality.

Since everybody talks about global weather instability (Global Warming) but nobody does anything about it, global politics will ensure that this source of caribou decimation will only get worse.

And, given that hydrocarbon sources in the Middle East will become more and more unstable and risky, development of these resources in the far north of Europe, Asia and North America, ironically made easier by Global Warming, will continue more rapidly in the coming decades.

Sadly, we must conclude that the decimation of the vast caribou herds once found in Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin,, Michigan, Vermont,New Hampshire, Maine, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick will continue. A natural result of the growth of human population  and human enterprise.

So, along with the historical Nativities and St Nicholas(Santa Claus) and fanciful Toy Soldiers and Nutcrackers we will eventually remember the reindeer as either  Christmas Holiday history or myth

Advice on Buying A Nativity

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Everyone loves a deal! In these days of “free shipping”, “free returns”, coupons and big discounts for internet purchases it’s easy to forget the need to ensure the quality of the set, the continuity of supply and the ability to find matching pieces in future years. I will expand on these three concepts in this blog.

Quality of the Set: The best and most durable of the many Holy Family  and Nativity and Creche scenes being offered these days are made of fiber glass and ,with sets up to about 40″ tall ,with a filled poly resin. The fiber glass sets are made in the same way that small to mid size  boats are made and are very durable and resistant to cracking or chipping. The filled poly resin sets are also strong, although, pieces over 40″ , in our experience, may become brittle and crack easily. The paint should always be outdoor, sunlight resistant. Painted poly resin figures may need a clear coat sealant.

Continuity of Supply: Many stores and websites in the garden, home furnishing and even discount retailing are offering a few Nativity figures, usually a Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Once these sets are sold, at very low prices, there is no certainty that they will ever carry these items again. That can leave you searching high and low next year and the year after to add to or complete your set.

Finding Matching Pieces. While you may find Nativity pieces of a similar size next year, there is no guarantee that you will be able to complete your set with all figures designed and built to create a complete and integrated scene. It is very likely, that when you do find these pieces, they will cost quite a bit more than your original pieces and will not be offered with free shipping. Respect for a special kind of product and what it stands for as well as dedication to offering the very best quality and service to our customers are more important to us than the latest internet fad.

Weather and Christmas Celebration

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

almanac-2012On the second day of Autumn it may seem too early to look ahead to the coming winter and the winter weather forecast. Nevertheless, we have to plan our Christmas decorating with the expected weather in mind. The Farmers Almanac 2012 winter outlook (FarmersAlmanac.com) says “Get ready for a winter of crime and punishment”

To summarize the predictions  from the Farmers Almanac, the East will have very wet and stormy conditions with above average temperatures and a lot of wet snow. This forecast will also apply to the Eastern Great Lakes and the Southern Plains. Below normal temperatures will dominate the Northern Plains and the Western Great Lakes, while the rest of the country will have a normal winter except for the Southeast which will very mild and  wet.

So, with the upcoming winter predicted to be “an unusually tough one” for most of the country, how should we plan our Christmas decorating. One suggestion is to bring some of your outdoor decorating inside. A beautiful and inspiring alternative to our many Life Size Decorations and Outdoor Nativity Sets, Scenes and Creches is our Life Size Indoor Nativity Sets and Scenes. Designed and fabricated in the Philippines by skilled designers and crafts people who are also devout Christians, these unique resin and fabric and plush figures will help you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and will offer your church an attractive alternative to the Nativity display.

68612stRegardless of the weather predictions, many people will still set up beautiful outdoor displays. We suggest that you be sure to tether your taller figures and displays to the ground with posts and guy wires to ensure they are not toppled by high winds and wet snow. Clean the snow off your figures and spotlights and try to ensure that you painted fiberglass and resin figures don’t get frozen in or are left in standing water as this amt induce cracking and chipping of the paint. When you bring your figures and displays in at the end of the season, be sure to wipe them with a damp cloth without using detergent or liquid cleaner. Do not power wash any painted fiberglass or resin figure as this can strip the paint from the surface.

The Christmas Season is a glorious time of year for children, families and Christians of all churches to celebrate. A little advance planning can make your decorating less stressful.

Five Things to Consider When Planning a Christmas Display

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Summer is nearly over. How did it go by so quickly? Now that we are past Labor Day, it is time to plan this year’s Christmas display. There are a number of considerations and I would like to address what we consider are the five most important.

  1. 37006stIs the focus religious or secular or both? With the modern holiday celebration of Christmas it is easy to forget that it evolved as a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Many Christians consider it very important to make this statement by displaying a Nativity Scene or Creche. Many people also view Christmas as a holiday for children, so the Santa, Snowman, Nutcracker or Toy Soldier have become an important part of the non-religious Christmas mythology.
  2. Is your display to be indoor or outdoor, or both? Of course, much of the Christmas ritual is centered on the Christmas tree with all of the traditional decorations and accessories and the family traditions that go along with it. Many religious people have replaced some or all of the baubles and tree skirts and, in some cases, even the tree, with an indoor Nativity Scene. Out door displays whether a Nativity creche or a Nutcracker, need to be large enough to be visible and are usually spotlighted. Here, location is important, if they are to be seen on  the street.
  3. 38200stWhere and how are you going to store your Christmas display? Some displays are lighted wire shapes which fold flat and are easily stored, standing up against a wall or lying down. The same storage convenience applies to the painted wood panel 2D Nativity figures and sets. The three dimensional fiber glass or resin mix Nativity or other Christmas statues will require some prior planning for off season storage.If convenient, we recommend that you store these pieces in the carton or crate they were shipped in. These can be stored in a garage, attic, warehouse or annex that is dry and safe. If there isn’t room to use the original boxes, the individual pieces can be wrapped in bubble wrap and laid flat on the floor and on top of each other, up to a safe height. Resin and fabric figures should always be stored in the original carton in a dry area.
  4. How are you going to keep your Christmas display safe and secure? On our website under the heading “Useful Information” we offer a number of suggestions about securing your outdoor Nativity and other Christmas statues and displays. These include tethering, attaching or otherwise connecting the statue to something immovable, like the ground. Indoor displays should be set up away from fireplaces or hot electric lights.
  5. The last consideration is your budget. You will want to view this kind of purchase as an investment. Our  fiberglass and polyresin pieces are not yesterday’s cheap throwaway  plastic figures lighted from the inside or the soft vinyl blow ups which wilt overnight. With proper cleaning and storage they will last you a long time. Whatever your budget, don’t for get to include the cost of shipping/delivery for your item or set.

These are our five key factors. What are yours? Please let us know and, for the best submission, as determined by us, we will give $100.00 off the price of any of our items which sell  for $1200.00 or more.

The Plastic Reindeer Rule-An Opportunity

Monday, August 8th, 2011

life-size-santaIn my last blog I discussed the so called “Plastic Reindeer Rule” created by the US Supreme Court. In summary, this ruling seems to require that any display of religious significance, such as a Christmas Creche or Nativity Scene, should be accompanied by a secular Christmas figure such as a Santa , Toy Soldier, Nutcracker or Reindeer.

Even this interpretation of the ruling is open to challenge by parties like the ACLU. In other cases a Giant Creche placed in New York City’s Central Park at the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th St, seemed to cause little comment. If a municipality or local community wants to play it safe, we may be able to help. Beginning this week, August 8 and through September 30, 2011, we are offering a 10% discount on the price of any Life Size Snowman, Santa, Toy Soldier,  Nutcracker or Caroler Set ordered along with a Life Size or Giant Nativity Scene, such as a 43150 or 41102. Please refer to the discount code “Reindeer 2011″