Nativity scenes - everywhere you look
Aggie Wheeler purchased her first nativity scene, made of paper mache, in 1966 at an 88 cent store in Chico. Since that time she has moved 35 times and bought a whole lot more nativity scenes. Traveling and living in places like Peru, Chile, Mexico gave Wheeler the chance to buy many different kinds over the years and while making new friends received many as gifts.
She even found one sitting on her front porch in a bag, because someone knew she would make a good home for it.
Some of her favorite nativity scenes stay up all year, but for the rest, she starts placing them around her home the day after Thanksgiving. It takes her two days to get them all set up.
Angels adorn her shelves in one bathroom as another collection takes shape but it is the nativity scenes that add up to over 100. She also collects nutcrackers.
Nativity scenes are made of wood, metal, carved glass, popsicle sticks, paper, olive wood, you name it. Many have unusual stories, such as the one she bought in Alaska at a silent auction. She has musical scenes that light up and one from Germany that is three tiers and is lit with candles.
A large dollhouse is set up in her dining room, complete with Christmas trees and a white picket fence surrounding it for the season.
Besides nativity scenes, there are many wise men sets filling the shelves throughout the house along with music boxes.
Of course living in Gridley, it isn't a true collection unless you have a nativity scene from Stained Glass Junction which is immediately recognizable amongst the many different pieces. One little set even has doors that open on hinges that are made of leather. Another small one is a wooden puzzle, that taken apart, is the pieces for a small set. Whether they are completed with Indians or bears, these nativity scenes are unique and fun to observe.
Wheeler has three grown children and a grandson who is two-and-a-half. Her first husband worked for Del Monte, Carnation and General Foods, thus the many moves made over the years including the Dominican Republic. They also lived in Guatemala and Argentina and all of the family speaks Spanish fluently.
She enjoys playing Bunco and while on the computer she loves "Words With Friends," where she has made some long-lasting friendships, even meeting several of them one weekend in Oregon.
She has several friends at Calvary Chapel where she attends church and is a very bubbly, happy lady who gets to collect and enjoy her nativity scenes whether it is once a year or all year long.