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Living... Christmas spirit can move people in different ways. For Dan and Karen Thoene, the Christmas season is an impressive display of lights and Christmas figures plugged in the first week of December, lasting through the holiday season. “When our kids were little, we used to drive around and see Christmas displays,” Karen said. “I would just watch their eyes light up, taking in the magic of the season, and I told them someday we would do that.” That day came in 1989 when Dan decided to make a star with broomsticks and lights, measuring 10 feet from point to point. He hung it up on a silo on their farm place north of Hartington for everyone to see. Crowd appeal encouraged him to do another decoration the next year. The couple had just erected a machine shed and it seemed the perfect place to move the star and place a nativity set below. “The first few years the kids loved it but then they started to moan when the season came close, ‘why do we have to do this’ – Mom’s getting crazy,” Karen said. Thoene Christmas Display Moving the star meant something else had to hang on the silo so Dan welded an angel, 12 ft. wide. Next came a Christmas tree on a shed by the silo. That small start almost 30 years ago has evolved into dozens of Christmas figurines and hundreds of lights. Karen admits she has over 20 Santa Clauses alone and then there are angels, soldiers, snowmen, elves, Snoopy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and choir people to add to the display. “Until the last few years, I put up all the decorations myself and there were times when I was on the roof, I wondered how far could I fall and if I would get hurt,” Karen said. Now the kids and grandkids make it a point to help Grandma. When the family gathers for Thanksgiving, Thoenes’ seven children and several of the 13 grandchildren, old enough to help, each take a Christmas project area and go to work. Grandma thinks it’s kind of nice even though it’s not exactly like she wants it. Every year Karen polls the family members, asking them for new ideas or different display sites. The only pieces which are always in the ything... it Of Ever Little B A cor •Home De •Purses glasses lry •Sun •Jewe ats oral •H l •Fl ppare Custom A • ure sed Furnit •Re-purpo ita’s R ities se–o–Nal cation! Pur Lo w NeDowntown Yankton , 219 W. 3rd 16vHERVOICEvNOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

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