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"Brandy's chicory coffee and rye is always delicious coffee for a crowd"—Milan Zábranský's Brandýská Cikorka a Žitná Káva Nativity.

Milan Zábranský has created a stunning diorama from a vintage Brandyská Cikorka A Žitná Káva Czech promotional nativity sheet.

Shown at left, it measures 14 x 10.5 inches, with its sloped sides and top covered with a light blue fabric that creates a soft background for all the colorful pieces. It's a great way to present a nativity scene: under glass, and with a nice label that announces to the viewer, "Brandy's chicory coffee and rye is always delicious coffee for a crowd."

"There was no real coffee during the war," Milan explains. "So people drank Branyská's chicory and rye instead."

If you look closely, you can see Brandyská products all over the nativity sheet: stashed in a little snow mount, under a village woman's arm, filling another woman's wicker basket, in a boy's satchel, even a Magi's arms!

Reklamní Papírové Betlémy
Promotional Paper Nativities

"Printed paper cut-out nativities occur in Bohemia from the end of the 18th century," Milan Zábranský and JiĹ™ina Hánová inform us in the spiral-bound Czech Promotional Nativities 2009 Calendar published by the Association of Czech Nativity Makers with financial support from the Culture Minstry of the Czech Republic. "Peculiar among them are nativities featuring figures kneeling before the Infant Jesus bearing products that the company wanted to promote as gifts.

"These promotional nativities that began to be distributed in the 1930s, provided manufacturers with a new mode of advertising during the then international economic crisis.

"Sheets printed in color, with the nativity on one side and the company logo and advertising slogans on the other (mouseover last thumbnail, above, right) were given free to customers with their purchase.

"Most of these 21nativities we know of today give neither the artist nor the year of issue; these were not so important to the issuing company. This is quite specifically a Czech form of advertising, and nothing similar is known in another country.

"The Czech Society of Nativity Scenes, in collaboration with the advertising, graphic design, and production studio Artliving, has prepared this 2009 calendar for you with six promotional nativities. We hope that each time you look at them you will be reminded of the magic of Christmas."

—Milan Zábranský and JiĹ™ina Hánová

We'd like to thank Milan and JiĹ™ina, and the Czech Nativity Makers Bohumil Dusek, František Karas, and ZdenÄ›k Peer who also contributed to the creation of this calendar.

Promotional Nativity Sheets now available as Free Downloads

With the compliments of all of our Czech friends listed above, is delighted so share with you as Free Downloads all six promotional nativities from the Czech Promotional Nativities 2009 Calendar.

Our first download? Brandyská Cikorka A Zitná Káva, shown above.

Click on this link, or on Czech Promotional Nativity Sheets at left, and have fun!

© 2022

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