Well, I made it home from Mexico. We had a great time, the weather was absolutely perfect. I’ll be sharing a little bit about the trip later in the week, so stay tuned for that. I’ll also be sharing who won my blogiversary giveaway later, as soon as I get to it.
In the meantime, today I thought I’d share my growing Department 56 Dickens Christmas Village.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Department 56, it began in 1976 as part of Bachman’s and is still headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
The Original Snow Village was the only village offered initially. The Dickens Village came along in 1984. These days they have six core villages, and 12 Licensed villages like the Disney village that my sister is collecting and the Harry Potter village (and I have to say, if you’re a Potter fan this one would be amazing to have).
I have to admit, although these villages were all the rage back in the 80’s and 90’s, I think maybe the Dickens one has fallen from favor. Or maybe it’s just that the people who collected them back then are all downsizing as they age. Whatever the reason, they seem to pop up at estate sales, garage sales and thrift stores on a fairly regular basis.
The new pieces are priced at $100 and up, with the most elaborate priced at $250 or more. I do want to note here that the quality of these pieces is much higher than the cheaper, generic sort of ceramic pieces you can find out there, though. So I’m not saying they aren’t worth those prices. However, my pieces have all cost less than $20. This past summer my sister and I came across a garage sale where they were selling dozens of pieces for $10 each. So my Tower of London piece, which is selling for $249.99 on Amazon, cost me $10.
As did the Kings Road Post Office.
I certainly was never planning to collect (or should I say non-collect) a Christmas village. I did not hop on board with this trend back in the day when it was immensely popular. But back in 2016 I shared a tour of my friend Amy’s house and I fell in love with her little village vignette.
The juxtaposition of the giant books with the lighted village on top was perfect. So when I saw a few pieces at the thrift store, I decided to pick them up.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
When I find pieces at prices like $10 each, I just can’t help myself.
Last year I displayed the village on the Welsh cupboard in our dining room …
But I needed to expand this year.
So I went back to the pine cupboard in the Q branch …
as well as the top of the rooster cupboard in the same room …
and finally I displayed Victoria Station on the stack of suitcases next to the pine cupboard.
Those of you who are Christmas Village pros are probably already savvy, but I thought I’d share a few q tips on displaying a village for those who are newbies like me.
My first tip is to layer your display. Just like on a buffet table, use props to place things at different heights. I achieve this using vintage suitcases and old books.
I set these up first to create a stage for my village.
Next up is electrical. I just discovered that you can buy strings of multiple lights for the villages from Amazon last year. You can light up three, five, or even nine buildings with just one string to plug in.
I also purchased a remote control outlet to plug them into. Now with one touch of a button I can turn them all on and off. Well, technically I have two buttons. One for the group over the pine cupboard and one for the group over the rooster cupboard.
One more tip for today, on adding trees. When I was at Gertens a few weeks back, they had some fabulous faux flocked pine trees in their village display. Unfortunately, they were $49.99 each, yowza! Granted, they were lit. But I also thought they were just a tad too large for the village. So I didn’t buy any.
Then later, while perusing the Christmas décor at Target I came across these trees.
They are very similar to the Gertens trees, but about half the size. They aren’t lit, but they also were only $3 each. So I was able to get 10 of them for less than just one of the Gerten trees. And I’m OK with them not being lit, that allows the village to be the star of the show.
I think they make for a very realistic looking snowy looking background.
I get the most enjoyment out of my village at night. I leave all the lights off in the room, and just light up the village. It’s so pretty!
I suspect I’ll continue watching my village grow over the coming years.
How about you, do you have a Christmas village? Leave a comment and let us know.