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Life-size nativity in South Side neighborhood attracts thousands

Posted at 6:58 PM, Dec 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 21:34:37-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Corpus Christi family on the South Side of town has been setting up a nativity scene in front of their home for more than 20 years.

The Bocanegras started this as a much smaller Christmas nativity scene but have added to the display each year for more than two decades.

It's also become a holiday tradition for many in the community. The Bocanegras said they have seen thousands of visitors so far this holiday season.

"I started getting the pieces little by little," said Ray Bocanegra. "Joseph, Mary, the wise men, and as the years went on I added, added, added. About 15 years, I had everything."

Those pieces and figurines have come from all over the country, even some from Mexico. They begin setting up the nativity scene as early as Oct. 1.

Bocanegra rebuilds the structure every year, using driftwood from Padre Island. For this reason, the nativity scene is a little different each time.

But their purpose for setting up the Christmas display year after year remains the same.

"Well, it's the true meaning of Christmas," Pat Bocanegra said. "You know, we understand the lights and the Santa. We love that also. But this is the true meaning."

"It brings a lot of tears to a lot of people," Ray said. "I mean, it gets real emotional sometimes."

The Bocanegras play Christmas music and hand out free popcorn each night.

The life-sized nativity scene will stay up until Jan. 15.

They plan to continue this tradition of theirs for many years to come.