Ever since I was little, my family has had a nativity set. The same one. It's a ceramic set - one of the old-fashioned, look-like-real-people kind of sets. It's complete - there's the holy family (complete with a baby Jesus that comes out of the manger - because he doesn't get put in until Christmas), shepherds, the wise men, camels, donkeys, and sheep. It's all set in an open faced barn, made out of real wood, with moss on the ground and roof, and an angel that attaches to the roof of the barn. It's beautiful. It was clearly my job to set it up too. My grandparents on my mom's side have a similar set - just a few years older (clearly). My dad's parents? They had a Precious Moments style (though not brand name) ceramic set with everything in pale blues, purples, and yellows, and the figurines look like children, all sans-barn (they always kept it in a winter wonderland, sparkly fleece on top of the piano).
But now it's time for our own set. A set we can't find for the life of us. Maybe I'm being overly hopeful - I want a set that we both like equally and fits us. Is that naive? Should I just buy what I like, and assume that Sean will learn to like it? In any case, we have pretty similar tastes, so it's not that difficult.
We know what we don't want. That's gotta count for something. We don't want child-like figurines. Nor do we want the life-like ones. We also don't want a fixed manger - the best part of the manger is getting to set it up, move it around, and add the pieces as necessary (Jesus at Christmas, and the wise men in January). It's really frustrating that we can't find one. In fact, it's driving me nuts.
I kind of really like the Willow nativity set, but alas, Sean isn't a huge fan. He'd concede to it, but he'd rather something else. Plus, it's expensive, and we'd basically have to add a few pieces each year to be able to afford it (and then of course, we run the risk of it being discontinued before we complete the set).
I can't seem to find the right one. It's important to me - it's always been part of my Christmas tradition, and I want to continue it. Hopefully I'll find it. Preferably in the next 20 years... :p