BILLINGS- This Christmas, Billings will be without the special holiday tradition of the Billings North Pole, which always greeted visitors on the south side of town on Stone Street.
Chris Troup operated the display for 15 years with thousands of Christmas lights and decorations turning his quaint, South Side front yard into a masterpiece of holiday cheer.
“Tens of thousands of memories that were created in this small little yard that I never thought would happen,” said Troup.
Last year, Troup announced 2022 would be his last display. That display used over 200,000 lights and took the Billings resident months to prepare. Ultimately Troup said, the time constraints were too much for his family to continue to endure.
So, he says, he set out to find a new home for the display.
“They are very vintage, highly collectable, highly sought after,” said Austin Kramer, manager at YesterYear’s Antique Mall.
Low and behold something familiar has appeared this year in the downtown storefront. Troup’s sought-after collection of vintage blow molds is now for sale from the Billings North Pole.
Kramer says 220 of his vintage blow molds, including Santa’s snowmen, nativity scene and more, came to YesterYears. He also says since then, business has sold nearly a quarter of them.
“So, he decided that he was going to sell it all,” said Kramer. “And we were very fortunate to purchase the entire lot of them."
Most Kramer says are priced below what they’re worth, however there’s a single Santa holding a Noel lantern that is rare and priced at $1,500.
“Rarities and curiosities go for a very high price,” he said. “That’s probably the highest priced one in the building.”
But not all of the Billings North Pole landed at the antique shop. Seven trailer loads headed just down the street to help the Bolt family build up a news Santa’s Workshop, also on Stone Street.
“The Bolt family, they have an amazing display every year, it’s a must see,” said Troup.
Preparations for Billings North Pole took months from Troup every year and even more time to collect all the items.
He recalls finding that rare Santa priced at $1,500 bucks at a yard sale one year and had to have it for the display.
Troup put his heart and soul into the Billings North Pole display and says he’s heartbroken to have to see it end.
“It took me 15 years to collect all of those. They are getting hard to find,” he said.
But he also says, it’s now time to pass the tradition along to someone else. Perhaps even an interested buyer in vintage goods.
“Oh, I am sad,” he said. “But I still got the Christmas spirit that is never going to go away.”