Utah woman collects over 700 Nativity scenes

SALT LAKE CITY — One Salt Lake City resident is really getting into the Christmas Spirit by displaying her 700 plus nativity scenes — a collection she said is growing.

Jolene Wright has been collecting nativities ever since she was married 54 years ago.

It's a family tradition, but Wright said it didn’t take off until her son brought her a nativity from his mission in Columbia.

“It just exploded from there,” Wright said.

Now with more than 700 nativities filling her local church house, Wright said people still add to her collection.

“I get some every month almost,” Wright said. “People have said that have given them to me, ‘I don’t think Jolene has one like that, let’s buy her one.’”

Each nativity is unique, made with different materials and displaying different colors.

“We have everything from clay, to cement to burnt wool,” Wright said. “I have even a little thimble that there’s a door that opens up on the thimble.”

Even though Wright hasn’t traveled to any of the countries represented by her nativities, she said she feels the materials and colors used in each one portrays a different perspective of the Christ child — how different countries "perceive the holy family and the baby Jesus."

Baby Jesus is the reason Wright said she collects all of these nativities.

“That’s what it’s all about," she said. "He's just my favorite."

The displays are open to the public Friday, December 14 from 1-8 p.m. and Saturday, December 15 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 3935 S 1500 W Salt Lake City.