OTTAWA — This Christmas season marks 45 years of Ottawa residents Chas and Beth Myers collecting more than 60 indoor miniature nativity scenes.
Ten of their 66 nativity scenes will be on display from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Putnam County Historical Society & Museum, 201 E. Main St., Kalida. The couple will provide a slide presentation on the history of their collection that will be open to the community Sunday at the museum.
The sets will continue to be on display from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 at the museum.
It is a family tradition for the Myers to display them around the inside of their home and each one has a story.
The couple’s tradition of collecting nativity scenes began when they got married in December 1974.
“We had a December wedding and went old inn hopping in Vermont,” Chas Myers said. “We had talked how we wanted to get a nativity on our honeymoon, and when we were in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, we found our first one at a gift shop.”
It is a German nativity set with candles, and the heat of the candles makes a contraption at the top of the scene go around. The scene has figurines of Mary, Joseph and the three wise men.
The Myers have collected nativity scenes from Mexico, where their daughter-in-law, Alison, is originally from, Germany on a trip in 2017, as well as Alaska, Peru and Italy.
They also have received nativities as Christmas gifts from their family members and as retirement gifts.
“My favorite scene is a stained glass nativity scene that came from Colorado Springs in 1990 from Santa Claus Village,” Chas Myers said. A stained glass artist in Colorado constructed the scene with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the three wise men.
The family even has a plastic nativity set their sons played with when they were children.
The Myers attend Ottawa Presbyterian Church, where Beth is the organist and Chas is the choir director and clerk of session. Chas was the band and choir director at Kalida Schools for 27 years, and Beth was a teacher and guidance counselor at Kalida schools.
“Our pastor said in reference to nativity scenes that one scene should stay up all year long to keep that in your heart and hope alive, and we do that,” Beth Myers said.
She said she likes all of the scenes, and it is hard to pick a favorite one.
“I enjoy the hunt for the nativity scenes and being sneaky and not getting caught buying more,” Beth Myers joked. She inherited a nativity scene from her grandmother that is special to her because her grandmother made it.
The Myers helped their three sons start their own Christmas collection decor to build memories. Their oldest son, Steve received, a Department 56 Dickens Village. Their middle son, Jeff, got a nutcracker. Their youngest son, Brian, started the Department 56 Christmas in the City collection.
“We want people to know the real reason for the season through the nativity,” Beth Myers said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.