Payson family’s annual Christmas village built on decades of tradition

PAYSON, Utah -- A holiday tradition that started in the late ‘70s is alive and well in Payson, and it involves one family and a lot of tiny Christmas houses.

“Most people tell me the bumper cars are their favorite,” says Bonnie Moore, creator of this Christmas village.

Bumper cars are just the beginning of the Christmas village that springs up in Moore’s home every holiday season.

“We have village swings, a little merry-go-round, up here we've got all of our houses where all of our people in our village live,” she said.

The "people" in Bonnie’s village of 200 houses have a lot to do.

“There's even a garage sale in my village," she said.

They can even go to village Vegas.

“They might find somebody to visit the wedding chapel with,” Moore said. “That's next. Then the honeymooner motel, and at the end we have an attorney's office just in case they didn't like their decisions.”

Maesyn Richins, Moore’s granddaughter, is a big fan of the village.

“My favorite part about Christmas is being able to be with my family, and help my grandma set up this village every year,” she said.

Krista Openshaw, Moore’s daughter, agrees.

“It’s fun to come down and help her decide what goes where,” she said. “It’s become part of our Christmas tradition.”

The village is also becoming a tradition for a widening circle of friends and neighbors.

“We have an open house for the town to come, and we do a food drive along with that,” Moore said.

The village changes every year, but the best part remains the same.

“The joy I see, especially in my grand kid's faces,” Moore said of her motivations.