Patty McGee is pictured with the Christmas village - and village courthouse - she has displayed in her home.

Although she had a few Christmas village pieces, it wasn’t until she inherited the villages of her mother-in-law Agnes and her sister-in-law Delores on their passing that Patty McGee’s Christmas village grew to its current size. The village courthouse piece of her village has special meaning for Patty who served as Sully County Auditor for nearly three decades from 1987-2015.

“I received it from Heather (LaRosh) Hofer when she worked for me as part of the Sully Buttes business education program,” said Patty. “I just love it. It brings back so many fond memories of the achievements and friends made while I worked in the courthouse.”

Patty’s village also includes a police station, a fire station, a pet shop, and of course a farm. It’s the smaller elements – such as the cow figurines she places near the farm – that really bring the village to life.

“My daughter Brenda saw this fence with cardinals piece that she thought I might like,” said Patty about the continued growth of her village through the detail pieces. “Besides the cows, there are ducks and geese and a pig and squirrels.”

According to Patty, the detail pieces can be a bit tricky. “There’s a pond, and an ice fisherman that are harder to set up because they are so small.”

The Christmas village is just one aspect of Patty’s Christmas decorating. She also decorates trees with a John Deere theme and a wildlife theme. “I have a lot of stuff I don’t get out because I don’t have room for it, but I don’t want to get rid of anything.”

When the Card and Candy Hallmark store in Pierre was going out of business, Patty purchased a display shelf. “I really like it because each shelf is like a tray, so the pieces set down in it,” said Patty. “My cat liked to get in there and lay on the bottom shelf. I kept finding the fake snow all over the house and I didn’t know how it had gotten there until I caught her on the shelf one time. I had to put Plexiglas around the shelf to keep her out.”

Patty gets her village out of storage in November and packs it away again in February or March. “My village is complete,” said Patty. “I don’t have room for anything else.”

Until she retired, Patty kept the courthouse piece in her office at the courthouse. Now, with added elements like a flag pole, it’s the heart of her Christmas village, not unlike the Sully County courthouse and all the memories it holds for Patty.