Through the efforts of about 40 students in Josh Baird’s art classes at Kanab High School, a long lost Christmas decoration treasure has been completely restored. The set appeared in Kanab’s Christmas Light Parade to promote the Live Nativity that will be presented Monday, December 22, and on display on the front lawn of the LDS chapel across the street from the Kanab Fire Station.

Over 30 years ago, several civic-minded Kanab residents formed a community to raise funds to purchase some top quality Christmas decorations. Emma Houston, one of the driving forces on the committee, said they raised enough money to buy the nativity set and a nice sleigh Santa could sit in. For decades, the nativity was displayed in front of the gazebo that stood just west of The Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meeting house on Center Street. Santa and his sleigh full of gifts was located on the church lawn. Over the years the paint faded, the fiberglass surfaces split and chipped. Finally the set was lost. A couple months ago, the set was discovered by Matt Brown while he was looking for something else in the storage building behind the LDS South Chapel. He asked Josh Baird to take a long look and give his opinion of the possibility of restoring it. Baird said he thought they could do a little touch-up.

A little touch-up turned into a complete restoration, with over 40 high schools students participating in the project. Baird said the effort was all voluntary on the part of the students. They patched, created new bases, applied a complete primer coat and then set about recreating the faces and clothing of the figures. When Emma Houston saw the finished product, she exclaimed, “They look better than new, this is unbelievable.” Baird feels the students have added at least another five-10 years of life to the set.

Everyone is welcome to participate in or enjoy viewing the Live Nativity on Monday, December 22, from 5-8 p.m. (performance at 6 p.m.) at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel, 604 South 100 East, Kanab. The event is for people of all faiths. The text for the Live Nativity comes from the Book of Luke.

The event will also include a community nativity set display and a gingerbread house contest. Those interested in displaying their nativity set(s) should contact Kay Wright at 435-680-3118 or 435-644-3722. Those interested in letting the public enjoy their gingerbread house creations need to contact Charlyn Linton at 435-644-2459. Adult supervision of the display area for nativities and gingerbread houses will be provided. Tables and display aids will also be available to show off your treasures in the best way possible.

If you would like to be a member of the cast for the Live Nativity, or are available to help with the production, please send an e-mail to Mariah Wheeler at

Chili, crackers and hot chocolate will be served free of charge before and after the Live Nativity from 5-5:30 and between 6:45-8. Those interested in helping with the food should contact Carolyn Grygla at 435-899-0454.