There is Christmas spirit, and then there is Maria Felix.
The 73-year-old Felix, a resident of El Centro Street with her husband of 46 years, Robert, 79, loves Christmas – absolutely adores it, and has ever since she was a little girl growing up in Jerez de García Salinas, Mexico.
In fact, Maria Felix loves Christmas so much that, every year, she turns her large dining room into a holiday display so vast and varied it rivals Macy’s window, minus the price tags.
Call it Felix Navidad.
“Christmas is the best,” Maria says.
In the Felix home, Christmas is crowed, too – with what Maria estimates are more than 2,000 holiday figurines and nativity fixtures, all set up on a dining room table that’s big enough to accommodate 10 … but which will see no hams or gravy boats until sometime in February.
Instead, sharing space on that table are, among other pieces, 12 small Christmas trees, four baby Jesuses of varying size, one manger, and what Felix estimates are 75 lambs, 30 shepherds, 20 merchants, six kings, three donkeys, two cows, two oxen, a handful of camels and musicians and about 20 buildings of various Biblical and non-Biblical bents.
Not to mention a table-top-sized ferris wheel, merry-go-round and toy train set.
That’s in addition to the room’s main Christmas tree, plus a perimeter of wreaths, garlands and giant, hanging snowflakes.
It takes Felix two full days of intricate arranging to set up, starting the day after Thanksgiving. She said she varies the look every year, and starts strategizing as early as September.
It all began in 1973, when Robert bought her a small manger on their honeymoon in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Since then, Maria has built her collection slowly but steadily. It’s become a year-round pursuit, she said.
“I hardly ever pay full price – I’m always looking for 40 percent off, 60 percent off,’’ she said. “Year-round – if I see something I like, I buy it.’’
Even with all those discounts, Felix estimates she’s spent more than $2,000 on her menagerie over the years.
Her house has a three-car garage in which, Maria said, Robert built a room exclusively to store all that holiday hardware.
Maria also goes all-out for Halloween and Thanksgiving – but not to the extent that she does for Christmas.
“The other festivities are just one day,’’ she said. “Christmas is the one I enjoy most, because it’s a whole season, I have more time to think about it, more time to think about it and enjoy it.”
The Felixes will celebrate this Christmas at home with their twin daughters, 43, their son, 38, and their in-laws.
And, of course, those 2,000-or-so other seasonal guests.