• Last modified 526 days ago (Dec. 14, 2022)


It takes a village to celebrate a season

Staff writer

Complete with skiers, carolers, gift-bearers, and sleigh riders, a 16-by-10-foot Christmas scene is on display through New Year’s Day at Marion City Library’s community room.

The scene was created by Claude Landis of Marion, but he gives credit to his late wife, Phyllis, for getting him started. Her photo is on display at the scene.

In 1993, Phyllis subscribed to a service that sent her a village house every month.

“After 10, I said that’s enough,” Landis said.

The couple created a winter scene on a 4-by-8-foot plywood base.

After Claude retired in 1996, he became interested in expanding the display. The couple purchased additional items on sale and expanded the display to its present 16-by-10-foot size. It includes a running train, a tunnel, a ski slope, evergreen trees, and lots of houses and people.

When the couple visited “Christmas House” in Hill City, South Dakota, it was like going to a candy store for Claude.

“It had everything,” he said. “After I picked out several bridges and a horse-drawn carriage, Phyllis wouldn’t let me buy any more.”

Claude estimates the display cost about $3,000, not including labor in setting it up.

“I enjoyed it,” he said. “We left it set up year round. Every time I walked by, I got a new idea.”

They offered to show the display to others, but people wouldn’t come out because they didn’t want to tramp through their house, he said.

After Phyllis died last year, Claude decided to move to Marion, but he didn’t have a place big enough to handle the display. Fortunately, Tim and Amanda Baxa had a room in their house that could accommodate the scene. They took it.

To make it available to the public, the Baxas offered to display it at the library. With Claude’s help, they set it up in time for Holly Jolly Christmas and the 200 people who participated in the library’s Christmas Home Tour this year.

Claude plans to expand the display to include a larger train set that he owns. It will need its own track and a larger tunnel. Plans are that the scene will be back at the library next December.

Last modified Dec. 14, 2022