Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Village Display

Our Christmas village display is a bit different from most.  It is not from Dept. 56, or from any other collectible manufacturer.  It is a hand-painted village, painted by my husband and I long ago, early in our marriage.

Our first Christmas after graduating from college, we had just recently moved far away from our family to take our first "real" jobs. We were young, had very little, but we had each other, and we had our evenings free.  So we looked for something to do together to build our home.   We splurged and purchased four plaster kits from the craft store.  Each kit cost us $9.99, and contained two buildings, a set of acrylic paints, and a wiring kit for lighting up the village.  We spent our evenings in November carefully (but not very skillfully!) painting our kits.  In the Christmas of 1989, our Christmas Village was officially incorporated!

In the three years after that, we added more kits, until we had all of the buildings that were offered, and actually, the kits were no longer being sold.  I think the second or third year, we added a box full of villagers, so that our village would have little people in it.  Every year since then, we have displayed the Christmas village as part of our home's decorations.

Of course, now there are many beautiful collectible villages available, and many of them are quite affordable considering inflation since 1989.  There are all sorts of accessories that can be purchased to fill out the scene, and all sorts of styles and architectures.  But we've added none of these factory-made village pieces to our scene.  As crude and primitive as they are, our village pieces are still our favorites.  Maybe one day I'll start a different village collection - I'll never say never - but I don't see it happening any time soon.

We currently display our village in a bookshelf that was hand-crafted for us by my dad.  We don't light the buildings any longer, because I have not figured out a way to hide the cords nicely without drilling holes in the bookshelf.  In this post, I have shown how I set up the foundation of the display on each shelf, using styrofoam sheets.

On the top shelf, we have a residential neighborhood, with four homes, a small road, and some trees.

I love the little boy making a snow angel!  I also love the soft yellow color of the colonial house on the left - I would love to have my home be that color!  Further along are two Victorian homes...

and then what I believe is meant to be a Tudor style home.

Love the little boys who crashed on their toboggan!

On the second shelf, I've styled it as a more rural road, with a frozen stream and pond, two homes and the village church.  All the homes are Victorian though, which is not necessarily found in a rural setting, but a little creative license is allowed, right?

The man in the red coat is harvesting ice blocks from the frozen pond, while the woman carrying the basket is taking baked goods to her neighbors.

Love the slate roof tiles on this pretty little home - but I remember not loving painting them!

Finally, the bottom shelf is the downtown area.  We have so many buildings that we've had to create a somewhat odd layout in order to get them all in.  But it works out, it's just imaginary after all!

I love these little buildings.  The furthest one on the left is a corner Drug Store, then a Hotel, then the Lawyer/Police, then the Fire Co., then a Cinema/Soda Fountain corner store.

On the right side of the bottom shelf, we have the other side of the Soda Fountain, then the 5&10/Barber Shop, then the Bank, Cafe, and Post Office.  There is also a Bandstand in the Central Square.

I hesitate to show many close-ups, because the painting is so crude.  But I love these little people, deformed faces and all. :-D    This couple is strolling downtown completing their Christmas shopping.

The villagers have gathered in the Central Square for a Tree Trimming Festival, including Christmas caroling!

Back outside of town, a little boy is pulling a large load of gifts to his grandparent's home for a big family celebration.

These neighbors are delighted to see each other as they go about their busy day.

The policeman is helping this little boy find his mother, who has gone and gotten lost while the boy was innocently eyeing the candy at the Drug Store candy counter.  The porter is helping carry bags into the Hotel for guests from out of town, here to visit family for a long holiday visit.

I guess it turns out that I've never really grown out of my love of playing make-believe with little dolls.  Thanks for indulging me and my silly stories!  (Check out my Vintage Santa if you like silly stories. ;-)

This is the very beginning of our Christmas decorating for 2010.  I worked on it while our turkey was roasting today.  I haven't completed the top of the bookshelf - that's why it's not visible here yet.  I'm looking forward to making a lot more progress during the rest of this weekend.

Thanks for visiting!

Linking to Deck The Halls Friday at Tinsel & Company.


  1. I wish I had the space to make a village like this. I love it! My husband ("Mr Attorney") would love that Lawyer's building!

    Best wishes,

  2. What a beautiful and treasures Christmas village! This is truly more special than a store bought one could ever be,. It is something both of you worked on together to make your house a home and I think it is magnificent!!

    I have the Lemax village. I started collecting it the year my first son was born, in 1981. I have added pieces to it every year but now I have no room on the platform under the tree that my Dad built for us.
    I loved the newer villages that were so much more detailed than mine so several years ago, Sam's Club used to have entire villages in a set. Hubby , Joe bought me another one. It has fiberoptic
    buildings and regularly lit building. I set this one up on my Dining Room buffet!
    I so loved seeing and hearing about yours and I too love to imagine the figures alive!

    Debbie @ A Debbie-Dabble Christmas

  3. I love your village! We usually set it up on a 3 shelf stand like that but this year put it above the cabinets in the kitchen. I love all of your snow, soooo cute!

  4. Love how you display your village in a cabinet-easy to see it all and it doesn't take up so much room-Great idea!

  5. Your Christmas village is adorable! I love all the building and the cute people. You should be proud of your work - and the painting looks great to me.

    Hubby and I are retired and Hubby is finally after all these years getting a model train set up in our unfinished basement area. We decided to put a train on our dining room table this Christmas too since we don't have any company coming for dinner. We started to buy some people and other little things that are Christmasy. We have one Christmas building so far. Wish we had your pretty little village to set out with our train!

  6. There is no village than one you built and painted with the love of your life.

    Ya can't BUY that. What a wonderful memory for you. Those big snow chunks are really cool.

  7. I love this collection - what a project of love! Priceless....and perfect!

  8. What a wonderful memory -- my village was built mostly as gifts from friends and family and it's special to me, but yours represents something you did together.