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At the Manger: A Great Way to Start the Christmas Season

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Looking for a FREE, indoor FAMILY event Thanksgiving weekend?

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, once the turkey is eaten on Thursday and shopping is done on Friday, round up the whole family and head out to University of Dayton’s At the Manger Open House. 

This year, the event is being held from 1pm – 5pm, Saturday, Nov. 26, in the University of Dayton Roesch Library.

At the Manger: World Nativity Traditions is a free exhibit of Nativity sets from around the world. The Marian Library collection, which represents hundreds of countries and cultures, is a community treasure.

seekandfind3Here are the top reasons to attend the Open House:

  1. The Nativity sets are amazing. The variety of materials used to create the Nativity sets, the cultural traditions that are often included and the countries represented, make the exhibit even more special. The exhibit is a wonderful way to talk with children about how different countries observe and celebrate Christmas. Each set features a description of the country of origin and what some of the aesthetics, symbols or features signify.
  2. The “Seek and Find”. This interactive game is sure to be a hit with your kiddos! The brochure features photos of objects within the sets on display, creating a fun, semi-competitive race to find them all. Your kids will have fun looking for and finding the baby Jesus, the animals, angels and other Nativity pieces listed in the brochures. The prizes are great too. The Seek and Find is available throughout the exhibit.
  3. The children’s activities. Whether it’s creating Christmas cards for special people or one of the other seekandfind4fantastic crafts and activities that have been offered over the years, the arts and crafts portion has proven to be a favorite for the entire family. This year, you can make a special Nativity magnet or a papel picado, a Mexican folk art banner, in addition to cards and coloring pages. Younger ones can spend time at the Arrange-a-Manger station, where they can play with Nativity figurines and sets.
  4. Something for the football fan, too. Yes, the event is scheduled every year during the Ohio State-Michigan game. You can enjoy both! The library has a special multi-screen viewing room with college football games on for those that want to watch or pop in and check the score.

Bonus: Free parking, refreshments and live music make this an easy and festive event to attend.

Many families in the Dayton area have made the At the Manger Grand Open House a beloved tradition.Be part of the fun and free event this year! Visit the exhibit website and check out the Facebook event for more information.

seekandfind2At the Manger: World Nativity Traditions exhibit continues Nov. 26, 2016 – Jan. 8, 2017. Drawing from the Marian Library’s collection of more than 3,000 Nativities, this year’s exhibit explores the rich and original variety of Mexican nacimientos (Nativities); features an original 12-foot metal mobile of the Nativity made by local artists; and highlights the romantic Nativity culture of the Ore Mountains in eastern Germany.

Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30a – 4:30p; Saturday and Sunday 1p-4p
Closed: Dec. 8; Dec. 23–26; Dec. 30–31; Jan. 1–2



Special thanks to Heidi Gauder from Beavercreek for this content and for sharing this fun event with our community.

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