Clarksville, Indiana, Kasari ranch house with Christmas decorations

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Jim and Bonnie Kasari lived on Cliffwood Drive, Indiana, when they first started surveying a property in Crandon Park. “We were the last here,” Bonnie told The Courier Journal. “I don’t know how long this plot of land was empty, and … I kept saying: ‘I want my dream house.'”

She and Jim had looked at a few houses in the market, but many were shabby and dilapidated. When they decided that a brand new build was their best option, they reached out to the man who owned the Clarksville property that now houses their ranch house.

It took several years, but eventually the Kasaris convinced the owner to sell. They bought the property and built the house of their dreams in 1978. Bonnie sketched out a rough map of everything she wanted in the new location: a floor plan similar to her old house, but with a formal dining room; a large attached garage; and a basin.

Decorations for days

Decorations at Jim and Bonnie Kasari's home in Clarksville.  The tree is mouse-themed.

Bonnie had always decorated her previous home for the holidays and she had no plans to change that in her new home. As a former teacher, she went all out both at home and at work on the big holidays. “I’ve always decorated my classroom – great,” she said. “I changed it every month so the kids were really excited.”

Some of the Christmas decorations also served as a math lesson for their second graders. Bonnie had her class come over and fill out a worksheet showing the number of snowmen, Santa Clauses, and other Christmas animals that were found in different rooms. Although she is now retired, the themed rooms have been retained.

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A sign hangs on each door indicating which decorations can be found in that room. There are, among others, the Beary Christmas Room, the Reindeer Romp Room and the Puppies’ Playroom. Behind each door, the room is filled with a fully decorated Christmas tree, stuffed animals, wall hangings, wrapped boxes, stockings, and more – all themed, of course.

When Christmas is over, all the decorations are stored in carefully sorted and labeled plastic containers that are stacked in both the garage and a storage room in the basement. Bonnie then pulls out the nearest trash cans ready to decorate for another vacation.

Enchanted by Cola

A Coca-Cola-style Christmas village with a train at Jim and Bonnie Kasari's home in Clarksville.

Although most of the Kasari home aesthetics change regularly, there is one basement theme that lasts 365 days a year: Coke.

“Collecting all of these things started with Godfather’s Pizza“Explained Jim. “30 or 40 years ago, there were free Coca-Cola glasses when you ordered a large pizza. … From there we have simply expanded and bought all kinds of Cola glasses over the years. “

Your Coca-Cola lineup now includes a variety of glasses, cans from around the world, magnets, cookie jars, figurines, stuffed animals and more. Some of the items are Christmassy; Typically these parts will be replaced with their non-holiday counterparts after December 25th. However, as Jim explains, the Christmas village he set up on the other side of the basement has stayed in place for the past few years, including the Coca-Cola Christmas collection.

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Constant Christmas spirit

“Since I didn’t destroy the village, (we left) Christmas in the basement,” said Jim. “Every day is Christmas here.”

The village to which he refers takes up an entire section of the cellar. A combination of 106 buildings, a train, and countless cars, people and other accessories, the miniature community looks like an exhibition that you would find in a large department store or museum. In fact, it’s the result of a collection Jim put together nearly 30 years ago.

“It started in 1992 with six buildings and a few people, accessories and cars,” he said. “And they added more every year.”

A Coca-Cola-style Christmas village with a train at Jim and Bonnie Kasari's home in Clarksville.

Most of the pieces are Coca-Cola, some from other brands. There’s even an antique fire department museum that Jim built himself. “I have a master diagram,” he said of the setup process. “(It is) a subject where I put everything.”

From movie theaters and diners to churches and motels, the village truly exemplifies everything there was back when a limited number of Tucker 48 were out and about. It’s been a while since Jim added something to the display in the hope that someone will soon take it out of their hands and put it in a place where more people can enjoy it any Christmas time.

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This year, however, he and Bonnie want to share it with as many people as possible.

“If you’re interested in seeing it live (and) in person,” said Jim, “just give us a call.”

Jim and Bonnie Kasari would like to welcome readers to the Courier Journal to experience their Christmas cheer firsthand. If you’d like to visit their home to see the Christmas decorations in person, call 812-945-4861 and leave a message.

Do you know of a house that would make a great home of the week? Email author Lennie Omalza at [email protected] or Lifestyle Editor Kathryn Gregory at [email protected]

Nuts and bolts

owner: Jim and Bonnie Kasari, who are both retired teachers. Her fur boys Rufus and Buddy are also in the home.

home: This is a 1,860 square foot, 3 bedroom, 3 bath ranch style home in the Crandon Park neighborhood of Clarksville, Indiana, built in 1978.

Distinguishing features: Located on 7/10 hectares; fenced back yard; Garage for 2 1/2 cars; fully developed cellar; two chimneys; Swimming pool; Bathhouse; front and back porches; two terraces; Dog door on the back porch; countless Christmas decorations.

Applause! Applause! Burke Co. for exterior paints and EAC Fence for fences.


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