Here it is, in all its plastic, badly-painted glory:
What you do not see here is wise men (or shepherds, for that matter). So joy of joys! I found three individually sold wise men between the big red bows and the four-packs of plastic Santa cups. It was even worth waiting behind a woman and her young child who held up the checkout line for a price check on a singing Justin Bieber doll.
So here they are, set up on my dining table and on their way to the manger:
Aren't they handsome?
When I got them home and started playing with them, I noticed this on their (literal not figurative) bottoms:
But what really interested me on this label is the whole concept of the difference between a "decoration" and a "toy," and why the manufacturers felt it necessary to make such a distinction. Are there only two categories for what these figures can be? And what does that even mean, that they should be used ONLY for decoration and not for playing?
After I took the above photos, June Amber came home, and she played with them too, and accidentally knocked one over, resulting in his hand being broken off at the wrist. Now the "not a toy" warning made some sense.
I decided not to glue the hand back on because it seemed fitting to me that during a long and arduous pilgrimage, there would be such trial and loss. If you take Eliot's The Journey of the Magi to heart, a much deeper brokenness was experienced by the wise men. And at least it wasn't the hand he was using to carry his gift to the Christ child.
Other than that, there was really only one minor issue with my beautiful new magi - they are not quite to the scale of everyone else at the manger. They are, in fact, twice as big as Mary and Joseph. But I figure that's okay, because they were supposed to be from a strange land anyway, so who says they couldn't have been giants? (Although I suppose if they're from China, that would be unlikely.) Also, if you look at it from their perspective of distance, it works.
Only when they reach the stable on Epiphany, will their size seem shocking, and perhaps that's as it should be. Besides, with a giant benevolent Santa watching over the whole thing, it's all relative.