Thursday, 21 November 2013

THe History of Nativity Sets

The first-ever Nativity scene recorded in history was created by St. Francis of Assisi.
Determined to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas, St Francis set about creating the world’s first known Nativity scene to help tell people of The Nativity Story. It was created in a cave near Greccio, Italy, and involved real people and animals, making it a living Nativity scene.
While living Nativity scenes still exist today, static and smaller versions are more popular and easier to manage!
Some of the most famous Nativity scenes can be found at the Vatican, the White House and in Bethlehem.
How Nativity Scenes Came to our Homes
Nativity scenes and sets as we know them today found their roots in the 1300′s and started as display pieces for Italian churches - often made out of terracotta.
In the mid-1500′s, Nativity sets also began to appear in the homes of wealthier citizens. These were much smaller versions than the large statues found in churches and were often made using wax and wood instead of terracotta.
Over the years, the nativity scenes spread across to most Christian countries, each adding its own influence and unique style. Traditions were also developed in some countries, most notably in Central American and Mediterranean countries.
It is still traditional in Germany to display all pieces of the Nativity set with the exception of baby Jesus, who is only displayed after Christmas Eve, as before that time he is not yet been born.
Today’s Nativity Sets
Today, the typical Nativity set is made out of more modern materials and a basic nativity set should consist of at least five pieces. The stable is the setting and the manger where baby Jesus will rest, is usually placed front and centre in the stable. This is because Jesus is the most significant piece in any Nativity set. Mary and Joseph are also prominent, but not as prominent. Mary is often placed right beside the manger, fondly looking over her son, while Joseph is usually placed on the other side of the manger looking down on Jesus. Together, these five pieces, stable, manger, Christ child, Mary and Joseph, make a complete yet basic set.
In addition to the basic set, it is not uncommon for homes to have larger sets that include the star of Bethlehem, the Angel Gabriel, the shepherds, the Wisemen, and various barn animals.
Please visit our website to see our full range of nativity sets now available.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Beautiful handmade secret lock boxes
made by Madagascan artists using local woods to produce these individual and stunning designs.
Beautifully crafted from palisandre (a rosewood native to Madagascar), these intricate boxes are inlaid with indigenous hardwood veneers to create scenes from Malagasy village life. The wood colours are made naturally - no stains, dyes or paint are used.
The work is then either kept in its natural state (matt finish) or varnished to give a gloss finish.
80% of Madagascar's unique forests have already been lost to slash-and-burn agriculture.
This type of cottage industry requires only small quantities of felled wood from different species of trees.
It creates vital, quality employment so that the Malagasy people may continue to view their forests as valuable resources and continue to sustain some of the most unusual and diverse wildlife on earth.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Personalised Gifts

It seems to be the season for Christenings, Baptisms, Namings and Dedications at the moment.
A lovely time for family and friends to get together to welcome new members into their family and church.
Our wonderful customers are choosing beautiful personalised gifts from the various selections we have at More Than Gifts.

If you are looking for something particular that is nor show, please contact us as we can source many gifts but not all are shown on the website.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Bank Holiday Special until May 6th 2013 - 15 % off all retail orders over £20 (excluding personalised gifts).
Just enter BHS15 at checkout.
Photo: Bank Holiday Special - 15 % off all retail orders over £20 (excluding personalised gifts). Just enter BHS15 at checkout.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Customised Russian Nesting Dolls

We are delighted to have been able to design and produce these customised nesting sets for BBC Scotland for the cast of their award winning TV series Mrs Brown's Boys.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 - OFFER

10% discount off all orders during Fairtrade Fortnight. Enter code FT10 at checkout. Please visit our store to view our full product ranges.

(offer excludes personalised products and gift certificates)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Our Fairtrade Producers & Suppliers

Many of our products are beautifully handmade with intricate and time-consuming designs by fairtrade groups or individual artisans. Our customers often ask about the crafts people who have created such unique work so we have decided to provide more information about them where possible.

ASHA Handicrafts, India
Asha Handicrafts has been practising Fair Trade since 1975 and the word Asha means "hope" in Sanskrit. They are helping to spread the concepts and benefits of Fair Trading in India. They are a not-for-profit making body and they ensure that the payments and benefits of handicraft production reach the craftspeople themselves.

These suppliers handcraft the beautifully decorated metal jewellery cases that we have recently added to our range. They also produce the only Russian Nesting Doll sets that we sell that are not made in Russia. They are fairtrade sets produced in India.

Aspiration, India
Aspiration are based in Delhi, India. They are dedicated to the welfare of artisans and families all over India including Jaipur and Sarangapur by promoting and developing cottage industries, improving economic and social welfare and proving fair wages. One of Aspiration’s aims is also to revive the old crafts of India and are involved providing financial assistance to artisans to develop overseas markets for cottage industry products.

The intricated decorated wooden secret lock boxes are some of the items produced by Aspiration workers and are consistently best sellers with our customers..

MKS (Madhya Kalikata Shilpangan), India
MKS is a non-profit organisation founded in 1994 to create a market for small artisan groups in India, to offer a fair price for their products and to ensure that the artisans can obtain raw materials at a reasonable price. MKS social commitments include providing medical aid, education, loans and financial aid. They also encourage environmentally friendly technology.

The colourful leather novelty money boxes , coin purses and keyrings are some of the delightful items we stock that are produced by MKS

Sasha Exports, India
Sasha Exports was founded in 1978 and the organisation is committed to fair trade - fair wages, equal opportunity and human rights. It is a non-profit outlet for many small member cooperatives of Craft Producers. The wide range of crafts offered by Sasha draws on tradition, retaining cultural context, yet making products contemporary for present-day living. The producers make many of our beautiful fabric hanging mobiles and other textile work.

Fairtrade Wooden Animals and Ornaments

Our wooden totem poles are handmade by a talented Indonesian family. Their forefathers migrated from North America approximately 70 years ago and settled in Indonesia. The skills and traditions of creating totem poles have been handed down through 3 generations from Father to Son. The totem poles are made from tropical bog wood which is very fast growing and achieves its full size after only 5 years and so easy to replace from its habitat

Elephants and Hippos - These are designed and crafted by individuals in Bali, Indonesia. Elephants hold an important spiritual place in many religions of Indonesia. The work is quite labour intensive as each project starts with a large block of wood that is carved away to create the various art pieces. The work can involve high level of delicacy as only hand tools are used.