Two weekends left before 33-year-old Christmas tradition ends

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – A man who has spent the last 33 years spreading holiday cheer in north Alabama…. has set up his elaborate Christmas display for the last time.

Dick Jones’s private collection of ceramics is nestled in the back corner of the Limestone Flea Market.

Jones says in 33 years, he’s collected over 6,000 pieces that make up his Santa’s Village. He says every single one of them has a story.

“33 years ago, my late wife’s mother had a ceramic shop. She made a building that was almost an exact replica of where her mother was born in Tennessee. It grew from there,” said Dick Jones.

Jones says the display changes every year and new pieces are continuously added.

“It’s like an itch you can’t scratch. You’ve gotta keep going,” said Jones.

It took him six weekends to set up. He calls it a labor of love.

“Watching the smile on everybody’s face. When they come through that door, the adults turn into kids and the looks on the kid’s faces is just… well worth it,” said Jones.

He says spreading Christmas cheer isn’t the only reason he’s shared his village with the community for so long. Every year he collects donations for charity.

“We do it to raise money for senior veterans, an organization called Forever Young,” said Jones.

Visiting the village is free, but Jones believes it’s important to use it to give back. In the past, he has collected donations for St. Jude, Shriners Hospitals, battered women, and food banks.

The village has been in several states over 33 years, but Jones says this is the last.

“I’m getting to the age now that I can’t get under the tables and do all the electrical work that needs to be done. It’s time for it to have a new home,” said Jones.

Jones wants to donate the village to an organization that can share it with the community, but if a donation isn’t possible then he will put it up for sale.

The display will be set up for the next two weekends, December 21 & 22 and December 28 & 29, at the Limestone Flea Market on Highway 72 in Madison. Be sure to check it out before it’s taken down for the last time.

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