(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Tammie Gist of Manila has been collecting different items for her Christmas Village for 17 years. What started as a small village has turned into quite a large city.
Before the lighted Christmas Village, Mrs. Gist had tea light houses.
"My children were young and I didn't like having the candles burning because of safety issues, so I decided to begin the lighted type village," Mrs. Gist said.
Her collection turned into a quest each year looking for new and different pieces to add to the village.
As her collection grew, her friends and family began to give her different pieces as Christmas gifts.
Mrs. Gist would go to after Christmas sales or flea markets looking for items.
Her husband, Bill, gave her a very special piece for her birthday. He found the "Wheatley Inn." Wheatley is her maiden name and it is one of her favorites.
"When I look at the Wheatley Inn, it brings back memories of my parents," Gist said.
She tries not to duplicate any of the buildings. The first one she bought was a bakery shop. She has a bank, bus station, ranch with its own hotel, hotel and ski lodge, train station, hardware store, school, library, Wal-Mart Super Center, florist, dance hall, restaurant, city park, fire station, police station, city hall, coffee shop, clock tower, variety of houses arranged in subdivisions, and much more. Her village is complete with streets, cars, trees and other accessories.
She is always on the lookout for new items and is especially looking for a hospital and furniture store to add to her collection.
Gist has displayed her village at home throughout the years. She decided to share her village with her friends and display it at Manila Family Music Center, the business owned by the Gists.