The presepju is a quintessential staple to Christmas in Malta. Traditional cribs depicting the nativity scene flood Maltese homes every December, including that of a Birżebbuġa Custom’s Officer, whose been awe-struck by them for as long as he can recall.
Years later, Anthony Camilleri decided to make his childhood dreams come true by making his own large, bespoke crib.
“I’ve fascinated by big presepji for as long as I can remember,” the 53-year-old said in retrospect.
As a child, he’d always peer at them through store windows at Christmas time. But because Camilleri was one of three children, his parents couldn’t afford to buy him one.
Fast-forward four years of painstaking planning, painting, building as well as €3,000 invested and Camilleri has made his very own fully-fledged crib – and it’s a big one.
It’s even internationally recognised. Last year, his crib won third place in a renounced competition in Italy.
Besides the personal satisfaction, Camilleri says his passion for cribs also stems from the calmness it instils as he spends hours in his workshop every day – adding new statues or structures to his presepju.
“I get lost in it – it makes me forget about my daily worries,” he added.
Christmas time is also his favourite season, so he’s always thinking of how to expand his creation in time for the new year.
All in all, Camilleri says all the hours and money spent were worth it.
“I wouldn’t even sell it for a million euro,” he said.
Thanks to dedicated craftsmen like Camilleri, presepji won’t be leaving our Christmas decor anytime soon.
Tag someone who needs to see Camilleri’s awesome crib!