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Great Falls woman is selling her cherished Christmas nativity collection

Great Falls woman is selling her cherished Christmas nativity collection
Great Falls woman is selling her cherished Christmas nativity collection
Great Falls woman is selling her cherished Christmas nativity collection
Posted at 7:11 PM, Nov 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 11:40:55-05

GREAT FALLS — A long-time Christmas tradition in Great Falls featuring more than one-thousand nativity sets has not only moved - it’s nearing the end of its amazing run.

Nativity sets in Carol Olthoff’s collection come in all sizes and shapes.

For more than 35 years, she has built the incredible collection that started with her first set when she got married.

For the last 11 years, her display has been shared in the Columbus Center. Last year, Covid significantly cut down on the display numbers and subsequently the viewers. And when a space she had been using to display the sets was rented out, she sought out a new spot.

“Then we started looking and praying,” said Olthoff. “I have a group of five women. This became available and it’s going to be great.”

The new location is inside Liberty Hall at 721 10th Avenue South next to Arby’s.

Not only can people view the multitude of sets, Carol has decided to liquidate them as well.

Great Falls woman is selling her cherished Christmas nativity collection

“My heart is just kind of breaking for it but I keep thinking about the people that will take them home and remember,” said Olthoff.

It’s easy to buy a set online or at a store, but the sets in Carol’s collection all have a unique history, even if they help tell the same story.

“Somebody might say that’s just homemade, but do you know how much time people put into little homemade figures?” said Olthoff.

They come from all over the world, place like Vietnam, Thailand, Africa, and Alaska to name a few.

And they are made to fit every budget with prices ranging from $2,800 down to $5.

“We have the Lenox China that’s hand painted and the 24-carat gold filigree on it, down to the little plastic nativities that so many people have collected in the past,” said Judith Mortensen, who helps Olthoff with the display.

Great Falls woman is selling her cherished Christmas nativity collection

The nativities are made from all kinds of material including a set from recycled Reader’s Digest pages at a nativity made from wood veneer.

Carol and her co-workers say it will be hard to give up the sets, but they take comfort knowing they’ll make special Christmas memories for others. Still the absence of the nativity sets will leave a void.

“I think we’re going to be less rich because of not having this,” said Mortensen.

“Yeah, it’s been quite a ministry,” said Olthoff

The sets will be on display and for sale starting December 6th through January, Mondays through Saturdays from noon to 6 pm, or by appointment by calling 406-799-8109 or 406-455-0712.