This post originally appeared on Reductress.com.
As neighbors inflated Santas, reindeer, and snowmen this week, Astoria local Molly Newirth set up a beautiful hand-painted, baby-less nativity scene in her front yard. When asked by concerned neighbors if someone had stolen the baby Jesus, Newirth made it clear that the absence of baby Jesus was a personal choice.
"Why are people so bothered by the absence of a baby?" said Ms. Newirth. "Is that really so essential to the spirit of the holiday?"
Ms. Newirth, who teaches ceramics, explained that she finds life completely fulfilling without children and she hopes to set an example by revamping the baby-centric traditions of the holiday.
"I find the baby-less scene equally beautiful," said Ms. Newirth. "Mary and Joseph can totally enjoy the gifts of the Magi without the burden of a child. Who has the time to appreciate myrrh, or frankincense or gold when you've got a baby to worry about 24/7?!"
"She's a lovely girl," said Lucille Abbatelli, who has lived next door for nearly 50 years. "Always puts up such beautiful decorations. But where's the baby Jesus? A grandma like me wants to see a baby or two this time of year."
When it was explained that the baby Jesus was missing by choice, Mrs. Abbatelli insisted that it was a mistake. "Oh no I'm sure she just misplaced it," said Mrs. Abbatelli. "Maybe if she just had the proper support - a husband to help her with the decorations."
Ms. Newirth remained staunch after hearing the comments of other neighbors: "There is just as much love in that little manger. Maybe this is what Mary would've wanted if she'd had a choice back then!"