The Legend of the Nativity Tray

“After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of ‘truth’, and indeed present aspects of it that can only be received in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Good morning, dear friends.  Remember when I said we would blink and it would be Christmas?  Well… that being said, I have something to share this morning.  A lovely legend which can become a special Christmas Eve Tradition, the preparation of a Nativity Tray.  A wonderful tradition for children of all ages.  

Many years ago, I read about this Christmas Eve tradition in the book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I thought it was a lovely thing to do, and therefore, made it part of our Christmas.  This tradition is about the real meaning of Christmas ~ love and goodwill to all.  The gift of Christmas.

 “The only gift is a portion of thyself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


If you have the book, Simple Abundance you can read all about the Nativity Tray, an English medieval custom, in the December 24 entry.  However, if you do not, here is an excerpt from the book which explains the legend.

“Legend has it that on the night of the nativity, whosoever ventures out into great snows bearing a succulent bone for a lost and lamenting hound, a wisp of hay for a shivering horse, a warm cloak for a stranded wayfarer, a garland of bright berries for one who has worn chains, a dish of crumbs for all huddled birds who thought their song was dead, and sweetmeats for little children who peer from lonely windows–whosoever prepares this simple abundant tray, ‘shall be proffered and returned gifts of such an astonishment as will rival the hues of the peacock and the harmonies of heaven’.” 

Should you be interested in preparing a tray, our tray usually consists of;  dried cat and dog food, sunflowers, bread, peanuts in the shell, cranberries, oranges, apples, and whatever else may be on hand.  We have also hung coats, scarves, and hats on our gate, with a note, “Please take these if you are in need of warmth on this Christmas Eve.” Your heart will be especially warmed on Christmas morning to see your offerings were appreciated and most or all are gone.  

I hope you have enjoyed your visit this morning. I have one more legend to share with you before Christmas and it is about Christmas in the Mountains.  Hopefully, coming to you by weeks end.  These days are passing all too quickly, do enjoy the beauty of this glorious season while it is with us.

And, Always BELIEVE

In The Magic of Christmas!


Joyeux Noel,




Note:  Images ~ (Via Tumblr) Unless otherwise stated, I do not claim ownership of these photos. These photos are the work of tremendously talented people and I simply compiled them for your enjoyment



8 thoughts on “The Legend of the Nativity Tray

  1. Dear Sandra,

    Thank you for reminding me about Sarah’s Simple Abundance Dec 24th entry. I had take the book down to read earlier in the month and then got sidetracked with something else, so I’m glad to have her book near to hand for these last days until Christmas.

    That’s a lovely tradition of the nativity tray.

    And I do love your photos … the candle lights in the window. The tree all lit up on the hilltop (what a gorgeous photo) surrounded by that winter midnight blue sky I love.

    Wishing you a beautiful evening… Brenda xox

    1. Thank you, Brenda. I love Sarah’s book and refer to it often. I think I may re-read it from beginning to end again this year. Enjoy these wonderful days, my friend. ❤

  2. What a sweet tradition that you reminded me of dear Sandra! The days have passed way too quickly. Wishing you a most joyous weekend and the Merriest Christmas my friend!❤️

    1. Oh, Pam – the days have gone too quickly. Enjoy them while they are with us and wishing you and your beautiful family a wonderful Christmas.❤

Comments are closed.