Sandy Allison of Claysburg is hoping her Nativity set displayed at the Lower Claar Church of the Brethren near Claysburg will help boost Christmas cheer this holiday season.

The 5-inch scale set features hundreds of pieces from around the world.

“It’s quite the display,” she said. “I’m proud of it.”

Allison and her husband, Rich, spent about 25 hours over three days last week setting the set up at the church, 1044 Lower Claar Road.

“We had three car loads,” she said.

Allison said she has been collected the figures for a couple years, but most of the pieces were purchased this year while she was at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I spent a lot of time online,” she said about finding new pieces for the hobby.

Most of the figures are Fontanini pieces made in Italy, Allison said. The company’s figures date back to Emanuele Fontanini, a figurine painter who started the family business in 1908 in the tiny Tuscan town of Bagni di Lucca, Italy.

Allison said she added other pieces to the set, including purchasing small woven baskets from a girl in Russia.

“Those took four months to arrive,” she said.

Allison, who has always loved viewing Nativity sets and decorating for the holidays, said it was disappointing the ongoing pandemic has prevented people from attending church and going out to see other Christmas decorations around the community.

While the church cannot invite too many people to come together at once, Allison said she is hopeful community members will get a chance to see the set this month.

“People are isolated. A lot of elderly people can’t come to church,” she said. “… I was just wanted to do something nice to lift spirits with what’s happening.”

Contact Will DeShong at wdeshong@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 150s

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