HELEN Moniodis loves the gift giving and indulgent feasts synonymous with the festive season, but honouring the true spirit of the occasion brigs her the greatest joy.
The Walliston grandma of Lebanese decent and Catholic faith came to Australia with her husband in 1978.
For the past seven years, she has exhibited a nativity scene in her home – celebrating the birth of Jesus – for loved ones to enjoy.
Occupying most of her games room, it features precious pieces including infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph, collected from her travels around the world.
“Everyone is shocked when they see it – they say it is spectacular and beautiful,” Mrs Moniodis said.
“It takes people about half an hour to look at each piece and section of the nativity scene.”
The base of the structure is made from thick scrap paper from Lebanon and many of the ornaments, animals and figurines also hail from her home country.
Some of the houses and setups within the scene – which expands every year – represent Lebanese culture, including people dancing and making Lebanese bread.
The Christmas season is very much a family affair for Mrs Moniodis.
She and her husband host an annual Christmas Eve party at their home with family and close friends.
“We eat and drink all night until midnight then hand out presents to everyone who is there,” Mrs Moniodis said.
“On Christmas Day, we go to my sister’s house for lunch.
“My younger sister puts up beautiful Christmas lights at her house, just down the road from my house, so we spend the evening there with family.”