When I was a little girl, my grandmother loved Christmas. She had lots of decorations, many of which she'd brought back from Germany and Austria (and maybe Sweden and Denmark). Our family on that side is German, so she may have visited some of my grandfather's family back then—it was my great grandfather who came over to America so many years ago.
One of her prized decorations was a winter skating scene, with little lead figurines, each interacting with the winter elements in his own way. Skaters, snowball-throwers, gentleman callers, riders in a one-horse open sleigh—they all played across the dining room table on a large oval mirror usually used to display perfumes and hairbrushes in her bedroom.
I was lucky enough to inherit the set last year, after sending my dad on a treacherous mission to his attic Christmas boxes, and I wanted to figure out a display this year.
The pieces are tiny, and I believe they are lead. No wonder she wouldn't let me touch them. I've been using white cotton gloves from the photo lab where I worked after college to handle them.
Last year, I made some winter displays in apothecary jars, and for the Christmas dinner table, that I'd meant to put away in January. Only I couldn't! They are just too sweet! The scenes have been changing with the seasons.
I don't have fall evergreen trees, so this really is the summer display.
It doesn't have quite the impact of the other scenes, but the figurines in the jars solves several challenges: It keeps the figures out of reach from Starboy's touch, while letting him look up close, and it keeps the figures from being knocked over in our tiny house.
Unfortunately, only about a quarter of the figures will fit comfortably in the jars. Here is a gentleman pushing a lady on a sleigh, a couple ice staking, a boy playing on the ice, and a woman wrestling with her umbrella.
In the other jar, on epsom salt snow, another ice skating couple, a couple in a one-horse open sleigh, and a snowman.
Aren't they charming?
Brrr! Cold today!
This whole deal wasn't great from Starboy's point of view, because I didn't need much "help" and I didn't want him to touch anything. Unfortunately a lesson in patience for him, and valuing "special" things, which in itself isn't a bad thing. But maybe not his first choice in an advent activity. Them's the breaks, as they say.