Claire Anderson, contributing writer

Have you ever visited the annual Nativity Show that takes place here in Cache Valley each December? It is truly an amazing experience. Put on by Anne Neville, a local who has collected 2,000 nativities over the years, this display is fun for the whole family and is sure to remind all of the true meaning of Christmas.

In interviewing Anne and asking her some questions about herself, the nativities she has collected, and what the Nativity Show means to her, we were able to learn more about this wonderful holiday tradition and why it is so significant. Read on for the Q&A.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I was raised in a big family on a small farm in Idaho. I served a mission [for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] in Germany and graduated from Idaho State University. I met my husband Tim while I was a student teacher in Hailey, Idaho. We had a great time raising our six children in the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains. We retired from teaching and moved to Logan 16  years ago. Now, our 20 grandchildren, collecting, reading about, and writing about nativities, researching countries and traditions, arranging and making backgrounds, bases, and side ornaments, painting and designing nativities, and caring for the 2,000 nativities I have already collected keeps me busy.”   

What made you want to start the Nativity Show? What does it mean to you?

“I’ve been collecting nativities for 14 years now. Most of my nativity shopping is done online. I wanted to do this show because so many of my nativities truly are beautiful works of art and there are many amazing ones from different countries that can help connect us through our shared beliefs and desires. However, the most important reason why I do this is because collecting my nativities has taught me more about my Savior, Jesus Christ, and made me a better and kinder person. He is the center of my life and comforts me daily. I’m doing this show in the hope that the people who come will be able to feel the wonder of the Savior’s love and know of His goodness and kindness. Also, everything is totally free. There will be coloring sheets and candy canes for the children, music playing and beautiful things to look at. I really hope that it will be a wonderful experience for families and friends.”

What is your favorite part about putting together and hosting this display?

“My favorite part about putting this display together is the inspiration I feel as I pray about where and how to arrange the nativities. There is satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful and hoping that it will give joy to others and remind everyone that the real reason for Christmas is celebrating the Savior’s birth and life. I love being able to help remind everyone that Christmas begins with Christ!”

Do you have a favorite nativity?

My favorite nativity is a simple white one that I bought and painted for $5 at a church homemaking meeting nearly 50 years ago. I taught my children the story of the nativity with it, and so many precious memories have been made around it.”

What can people look forward to for this year’s display?

“People can look forward to seeing 700 nativities from over 100 countries displayed with love and concern. There will be beautiful, angelic ones that will inspire reverence, cute children’s ones that will help us feel Christ’s love, and truly ingenious, interesting ones from foreign lands that teach of shared beliefs and desires. There will also be some that will bring smiles and remind us of life’s joy. Have you ever seen a mermaid nativity? I just got a Cajun nativity from New Orleans. Yes, there are alligators swimming up to meet Baby Jesus. I have collected nativities from all 50 states. Come and see what nativity is representing your home state. Please come and join us. Feel the Spirit of Christmas! Feel the Spirit of Christ!”

We are thankful for members of our community like Anne who use their talents to help instill the true spirit of the season in the hearts of everyone around the valley. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience this amazing holiday tradition happening December 1 through the 4 at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building located at 1105 E. 2100 N. in North Logan.

Show times are as follows:

Wednesday, December 1 • Noon to 9 p.m.

Thursday, December 2 • Noon to 9 p.m.

Friday, December 3 • Noon to 9 p.m.

Saturday, December 4 • 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.