“Is it up today, Nana?
Every Christmas, my grandson looks forward to putting up the miniature Christmas Village set. This miniature city is one of his favorite things to play with during the Holidays, in addition to the Carousel that plays Christmas songs.
These miniature sets are usually based on a theme and mine is an old New England-It’s A Wonderful Life-A Christmas Story-Victorian theme. I have always been a fan of Christmas Movies so it must be that wonderful little city I am seeing in my imagination as I create my own vision of the perfect Christmas world. In my little homes and shops, I know everyone is happy and only interested in spreading the joy of Christmas to his fellow man. No complainers or mean people. Everyone is like the post-dream ghost-visited Ebenezer Scrooge and keeping Christmas in every way.
I know there are other themes for these villages such as modern or 1950s America or various Disney characters – so many different choices. I just love the old 2-story homes with tiny people to skate and throw snowballs and the horse-drawn sleigh.
When I first started to collect these miniature Christmas Village sets, I only got a few pieces since I didn’t want to have to take up a whole table or side of the room. But I never had any idea that “Oh, just this one more” would occur every year, and you end up with so much more than you ever think you could accumulate.
Let me explain to you, if you haven’t already figured this out, I am frugal by nature. I want to save money where I can and I have always been that way. So I am not typically the type of person who will go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a Department 56 Dickens’ Village Scrooge and Marley Counting House as some people can.
They are gorgeous and I would dearly love them. But I know I would have to have the whole village and all the extras….I just can’t do it!
But my grandson likes a “tornado” to hit the town, and stages car crashes in the middle of the sleighs and horse-drawn carriages. How could I allow that if I spent so much?
Yes, I spoil him, you’re right. But he likes to take one of them to the sandbox in the summer. What Nana is going to say no to that little face? ( Did I mention he is my only grandchild?)
When he was only about four years old, I started collecting and purchasing those Christmas Village homes. Little did I realize then that I was starting something that you can get seriously obsessed with! Each Christmas, you see one of the villages set up at the stores , and it just sends your mind soaring with all the great ideas of what to do! But then you come crashing down when you realize you can spend a small fortune on that stuff!
I have collected a lot of mine at After Christmas Clearances because you can get those for half price then. But I’ve also picked them up at garage sales or from friends and relatives who’ve decided they were not continuing with their collections. That is a nice way to get them.
But then you can get innovative and figure out ways to make things that you see, but for much less. I have painted my own “snow covered trees” just by selecting just the right tiny branch from a tree in my yard and putting spray snow on them.
It works. The branch will dry out over time, but most times I have my village up no more than thirty days, so it’s fine. I just discard them at the end of the season and make new when next Christmas rolls around.
I have tried making my own “trees” at what ever size I need. Just cut a branch the size of your house or hill or whatever area it is needed, and keep in mind how realistic the twig will look as representative of a full tree.
I have considered not putting up the miniature Christmas village, but my grandson loves it so much, I must do it! It is the first thing he runs to when he visits and also when he spends the night when Mom is working late. He will play with it in the morning while waiting to go to the bus.
I love that he loves it so much.
Just How Much Work Is A Village?
I won’t sugar-coat it. These Christmas Villages are a lot of work. Most everything is ceramic and has to be wrapped in bubble wrap or put back into its box lined with Styrofoam, so it is a major job to set up, not to mention to take down!
And you will have glitter and snow flakes all through the spring, especially when you have a grandson who has staged many “storybook” scenes from his imagination.
A few years ago we started making a Styrofoam platform for our miniature Christmas village set. It just seemed easier to create a full platform that we could put together so that our hills and streets were all arranged from the start. And the whole unit could be covered and stored until the next time.
We used an adhesive called Red Devil Spray Adhesive to glue to pieces of Styrofoam together. You can buy full sheets of styrofoam at Home Depot and the cost is low compared to a hobby store.
I used the Hot Wire Foam Factory Crafter’s Sculpting Tool to cut and texturize the sheets. I made a brick-looking design on the sides and then just sponged it with latex paint like I did with my Almost Hypertufa pots.
Once we had an idea of how we wanted a street, or in this case, a double street layout, we put two sections together. They can be separated and stored that way in the off season. This has worked out really well for us.
And I made a little Bonfire for my Carolers and , of course, extra wood to replenish the fire. Here is a shot of the carolers around the fire. I think it turned out cute.
You may watch this short video to see how a created a “real” bonfire in just a few minutes from supplies just outside your back door. It is so easy. Works for your Christmas Village or even a model railroad scene.
But it is a lot of fun to enjoy a Christmas Village with your kids and grand kids, so try it. You will be hooked. Just like I am. And I am in Deep!
And when my husband complains, I just point to his model railroad. That shuts him up!