The Christmas creche is a long-standing tradition at this Oakland home. Tradition yes, but not very traditional. It's a bit multi-this and multi-that, and all of it has meaning.
This year's flock is composed of mostly white-coated figures - no, not medical professionals - but sheep, goats, rams and lambs, poodles, polar bears and pelicans. Owning four stomachs is not a requirement for membership.
The Laughing Buddha is always in attendance, as is the trio of Kitchen Gods (at least I think that they're Kitchen Gods). No one has yet put a name to the Old Guy God (on the left in the photo), but he sure looks prayerful, so he is welcome too.
Finally, as a bow to the original Nativity story, our creche includes the serpent from the Garden of Eden. And a fighter jet that was found in the yard serves as a token for the state of affairs in the Middle East today.
Each year when I set up the creche, I hope that the jet will not have a place in the scene. This year, I arranged the creche to the sound of police helicopters - a loud and sad reminder of the police and demonstrators battling it out in Oakland and Berkeley.