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Austin couple hosts “Nativity House” tours

Austin, MINN. (KTTC) – Christmas is around the corner. With the holiday comes the urge for many to deck their halls at home with decorations of all kinds.

One couple in Austin has quite the tradition. Helen and Bill Holder have an impressive collection of nativity scenes. It all started with one Helen made out of origami, several decades ago.

“Well I’ve been a nativity collector for, lets see now, 46 years,” Helen said.

If you visit Austin, during the holiday season, there’s a chance you’ve heard of the “Nativity House.”

“They have buses come in and they visit the SPAM museum and the Nativity House,” Helen said smiling.

The Holders started sharing their nativity scene collection in 1968.

“Its just fun to hear peoples stories and see what catches their eye,” Helen added.

Helen says once you start collecting – its hard to stop.

“Once you start looking there are so many artist ideas and so many different materials,” Helen said. “The next thing you know, you’ve got 9 hundred!”

926 scenes to be exact; representing about 44 different countries.

Along with the bus tours – which happen 3 to 4 times throughout the holiday season – the couple also gives tours of their “Nativity House” in exchange for a small donation to the Salvation Army.

“Give everyone the idea that Christ came for everybody whether you’re good looking, bad looking,” Helen said. “Dark or light, whatever!”

Helen and Bill will host their last open house tour Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. However, they say anyone who gives them a call a for a tour after that is welcome as well.


Beret Leone

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