Valley City woman decks the halls with 435 nativity sets

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VALLEY CITY, N.D. - Holiday decorations make the Yuletide season bright. Endless strings of flickering lights or outdoor Santa displays bring Joy to the World.

One North Dakota woman has taken the Christmas tradition of Decking the Halls to heavenly heights.

Sara Anderson Moore is never set when it comes to nativity sets.

"Two just wasn't enough," says Moore.

Neither is 435. That's the number of nativity sets she currently has in her collection.

"It's overwhelming, beautiful, gorgeous, unbelievable," says Moore.

The entire nativity set collection has been on display only once because of the showroom space it takes to accommodate hundreds of stable scenes. When all the sets were set up in one place pictures were taken of every single one.

"Many of the nativity sets are what would be considered whimsical. This one is called the s'mores made out of little graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow. Kind of a crazy set but still kinda fun. Probably the ultimate whimsical set would be the rubber ducks," says Moore.

Sara has been drawn to small statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph since she was a child, but 1994 was the year Sara decided to become a serious collector.

"This set is from Europe and it's very, very unique. The baby is probably the most unusual baby Jesus you'll ever see in any set," says Moore.

A notebook helps her catalog the contents of this colossal cache of miniature icons.

"When I get one, I put the number on the bottom of the Mary and it corresponds with the next number coming up in the list.

Sara says her mother allowed her to play with the family nativity set when she was a child, and that sparked her love for the small plastic or ceramic symbols of Christmas. When the holidays are over, Sara keeps the spirit of the season alive year round by displaying at least 35 nativity sets in her home, winter, spring, summer and fall.

Sara says if parents want to instill a love for nativity sets in their children, they should allow them to play with the family manger scene figures. If you have a heirloom or expensive set, buy a plastic one kids can handle.