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'True reason of Christmas': Woman shares extensive nativity collection with public
Marielos Bond Nativity
While Marielos Bond said that she loves all her nativities equally, her daughter, Hilma Helena Bond Herrera, likes the nativity with cats as Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Wise Men. Her other favorites include a nativity made out of corn husks, one from lace and another from the ashes of Mount Saint Helen.
Marielos Bond. Photo by Judith Van Velsor.
Marielos Bond. Photo by Judith Van Valsor.

More than 600 nativities, painstakingly placed with love and reverence, lined tables at Saint Brendan’s Catholic Church on Saturday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19.

Marielos Bond, the owner of over 940 nativities, shared her personal samples of the depiction of the birth of Jesus, showing a wide variety of sets that represent different cultures, materials, sizes and styles.

Bond began collecting nativities over 40 years ago after “experiencing a busy Christmas with her young children.”

At the end of the holiday season, Bond said that she felt “the family had been caught up in the hustle and bustle” and were “disconnected from the true meaning of Christmas.”

To “remember the true reason of Christmas,” Bond put a nativity in every room of her house.

“Every year, I put up my nativities to [remember that] God loves us so much that he wanted to become one of us,” Bond said. “He wanted to be human and … show us that God and [humans] are united forever because [of that].”

Some of her more unique pieces include a nativity scene made from the ashes of Mount Saint Helen, a scene painted inside a walnut shell and another from Haiti with a coconut shell as the manger.

Bond’s collection of nativities includes pieces from every country in North, Central and South America, as well as others from India and Israel.

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Marielos Bond Nativity
While Marielos Bond said that she loves all her nativities equally, her daughter, Hilma Helena Bond Herrera, likes the nativity with cats as Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Wise Men. Her other favorites include a nativity made out of corn husks, one from lace and another from the ashes of Mount Saint Helen.
Marielos Bond Nativity
Marielos Bond showed off her collection of nativities at St. Brendan's Catholic church on Saturday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19, setting up over 600 of her 940+ nativities for spectators to enjoy. Some of her nativities included miniature dioramas, such as one painted inside the shell of a walnut.
Marielos Bond Nativity

Some nativities are family heirlooms and others have been made by family and friends. Alongside dioramas of the nativity, Bond has also collected items that have the scene painted on them like towels, blankets, cushions, jewelry and a cookie jar.

She said that she “could not ever” pick a favorite nativity because her collection means too much to her.

“It is like asking if you have a favorite child,” Bond said. “No, I could not ever choose a favorite. They all mean so much to me because [some of them] are from family members and my friends.”

Hilma Helena Bond Herrera, Bond’s daughter, said that her personal favorite nativity from her mother’s collection is one with cats.

After 40 years of collecting, Bond hopes to grow her repertoire of nativity scenes and is looking forward to finding displays with new styles, backgrounds and sizes.