12 Days of Christmas Spirit
The first year Bill Vittetoe was married to his wife, Clarabell, he made a crib barn for their nativity scene.
“Times were simpler back then,” he said. “We didn’t have as much things, so I thought a nice gift for my wife would be to make the crib barn for the nativity scene.”
In 1960, Vittetoe made another barn for his sons, which he still owns. The barn is painted red with a green roof but has survived for many generations.
“There are a few nicks and bruises on the barn, but the paint has held up,” Vittetoe said, smiling. “I suppose when I’m gone my sons will have to decide who gets the barn, but hopefully that won’t be for a while.”
After his sons grew up, Vittetoe didn’t make barns for a while. Then the grandkids were born. He said has made a barn for each of them.
Each grandchild has also played with the original barn Vittetoe built.
“I do know one thing—whenever the grandkids came over to grandpa’s house they would head down to the basement to play with the old barn and tractors,” he said, smiling.
This year Vittetoe made barns for each of his great-grandchildren, the oldest being 3.
“I used scraps of wood from hog buildings we put out on the farm,” he said. “They’re nailed and glued together. I also put the names of the families on the barns.”
Vittetoe said the look to the barns he has made have changed over time. Today barns are more like machine sheds that can hold tractors in them, and not livestock barns like the one he built for his sons.
“I also made sure the roof of the barns would open up,” he said. “I just thought my great-grandkids would like that.”