Reason for the Season
Carroll man's Christmas decorations star Christ, not Santa
December 24, 2013
Carroll resident Bob Elliott has more than 150 Nativity sets in a collection displayed throughout his home at 905 N. Main St. Elliott says his favorite sets are “plain and simple” with sometimes just three characters — Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.
When Bob Elliott decorates his home for Christmas, his displays feature 150 Nativity scenes - and absolutely zero depictions of Santa.
"To be blunt, I disagree with Santa Claus," the 62-year-old Carroll resident said. "It's Christ's birthday - that's what we should be celebrating."
Elliott began his Nativity collection about 25 years ago. Though he cannot remember which scene was his first, nor choose a favorite, he said that he enjoys Nativities that are "plain and simple," often featuring as few as three figures - Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Most of his Nativity displays are purchased at thrift stores like the New Hope bargain shop. He is always looking for a set he doesn't have, sometimes combining pieces from different sets or buying the stables separate. He has found nearly all of his 150 for within a range of 50 cents to $15.
He begins setting up his Nativity scenes the day after Thanksgiving. The rest of the year, the rooms in his house are decorated to reflect various themes, ranging from the Campbell's Soup collectibles in the kitchen to the vintage doctor's tools and hospital relics that adorn the walls of the bedroom of the former nurse.
The Nativity scene that traveled the farthest to its place on Elliott's dining-room shelves was a gift from missionary friends at church, said Elliott. They brought a Nativity scene comprised of tall, slender black figures from a Africa, though Elliott cannot recall the specific country.
While most of his Nativity scenes feature traditional white characters including the family, wise men and shepherds, each set is different. One lights up, while another rests in a ceramic replica of a pinecone. He also has sets featuring Native American characters, African American characters, and one featuring all animals with Baby Jesus.
But there is one Nativity scene Elliott said will never grace his home - that of Santa looking in on Baby Jesus.
"Christmas is my favorite time of year," he said. "Christ is the reason."
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