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A Christmas village in Tiffin

Al Havens’ festive holiday display
Tiffin City Council member Al Havens shows off the Christmas village display in his home. The exhibit is part of a larger collection acquired over the course of about 30 years. (photo by Cale Stelken)

TIFFIN– Al Havens’ holiday spirit is on full display.

The Tiffin resident and city council member annually hosts his own miniature Christmas village at his Ponds Court residence. With a dimming of the lights, the display comes to life with 50 miniature lit buildings and monuments. A moving train cart, as well as an ice-skating rink with animated skaters and a ski slope with a cycling ski lift round out the exhibit to a backdrop of holiday music.

“One of my favorites is the ‘57 Chevy on a carousel,” he remarked, pointing to a vintage Chevrolet store display.

Also featured are Ralphie from the 1983 classic “A Christmas Story,” gazing into the Higbee’s department store window at the prized Red Ryder BB gun; and the Bedford Falls Bailey residence from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Havens’ festive display is about half of a larger collection acquired over the course of about 30 years.

The pieces were purchased from various retailers, usually around the holiday season. In previous years, he’s had a train travel throughout the scenery, which was nearly twice its current size. Setting up the village takes some logistical maneuvering; a plywood base under its snowy foundation features holes to conceal electrical cords underneath the display which he typically leaves set up until the first week of January.

Havens most looked forward to having his two granddaughters come see it on Christmas Eve. He’s also considered the possibility of setting up his display in the conference room at City Hall for locals to view.

“That’s what’s really cool is the kids being able to see it, more than anything else,” he said.