Many traditional families have a nativity scene, or presepio, during the Christmas holiday. But it is a rare sight for most Americans to see an entire room dedicated to the practice.
Gil and Gasselina Ferreira (pictured above) are just one family out of many in Artesia who carry on this ancient tradition.
"It took me over a month to finish this," said Gasselina (pronounced 'Goss-leen-ah'). "I started in September, then I babysit and carry on my duties throughout the week, and I work on it again over the weekends ... I finished on November 6."
Portuguese presepios are set on a stage, often tiered, and are modeled after a village. Gasselina and Gil said they purchased many of the houses from Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, and antique stores.
Gasselina joked that she likened the higher tiers of her presepio to Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, and the lowest tiers are near the ocean.
Gasselina had a story for every doll and building; and the presepio had nativity scenes, bull and cow pens, a harbor scene, a McDonald's, and various street scenes.
There are more photos of the Ferreira's presepio in the website Photo Gallery.