BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield family is keeping a decades-old tradition of building a nativity scene of epic proportions to welcome the main guest on Christmas Eve: baby Jesus.

They welcomed me into their home and they explained the tradition exported from Mexico.

“We have Adam and Eve…we have the three Wiseman…and of course our main setting — which is where baby Jesus is going to be born.”

He’s the reason for the season but also why Gaby Rubalcaba continues to grow the massive nativity scene that lives in her living room.

“We could expand it more, like, I would leave more space in between each part of them so maybe someday once I have a big house I could make it much bigger,” Rubalcaba said.

The family’s matriarch, Esperanza Ruiz, exported the tradition from Michoacan, Mexico almost four decades ago.

Esperanza Ruiz

“She learned this from her grandparents, so all her childhood she experienced this and when she came to the United States, she brought some of these figures,” Rubalcaba said.

Since the first nativity scene on American soil, the family has collected over 400 figures, a ballpark guess as Rubalcaba is not quite sure how many figures tell the story of the first Christmas.

“I remember it was small much smaller. I always admired it and it’s been so long ago, I mean I was probably one or two when I first saw it, so for me, it’s just something that’s part of Christmas.”

The youngest of the three sisters was tasked with carrying the tradition 10 years ago, but it’s the next 10 years she looks forward to the most.

“This is a privilege that my mom gave to me,” Rubalcaba said. “My mom would always notice that I was the one you know helping the most and enjoyed putting it up and I hope that my kids eventually continue this tradition and for them to continue making this even bigger at some point in their life.”

Gaby Rubalcaba with her mother, Esperanza Ruiz, and two sisters.

Rubalcaba mentioned that her mother Esperanza is currently spending the holidays in Mexico and as per usual they are anxiously expecting a new figurine to add to the nativity scene next year.