Christmas Village Displays
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hristmas village displays are a beautiful ad-
dition to any holiday home. They are often
placed beneath the Christmas tree but can be
placed on mantles, countertops, and other areas.
Small vignettes can be created on side tables or other
surfaces around the house to add the charm and
wonder of Christmas to any room. Some families
have a large display and then several vignettes in
unexpected places. How you decorate with them
is up to you.
The Christmas village tradition was brought into
my life by my husband whose family did this every
year. It has been a tradition for me to buy him a new
piece for «his» village each Christmas. Generally I Christmas at our house. (c)marye Audet 2008
try to get something that represents the year that
is passing. The special piece was a recruiter’s office The History of Christmas Village
the year our son joined the Air Force. Displays
In this way the size of our village has built up un- Christmas village displays are a wonderful tradition
til it is huge. Our children and grandchildren look that began with the Moravian tradition of putting a
forward to seeing it every year. Nativity set or Putz beneath the tree. Over time the
Nativity scenes became more and more elaborate
and by the late 1700s could be found on mantles
and china cabinets as well as under trees.
As the trend caught on people would spread straw,
dirt, pebbles, and other items to make the scene
look more and more realistic. The scenes started to
contain other Bible stories like Noah’s Ark. Crafts-
men would carve animal figures, sometimes hun-
dreds, to be placed near the Ark scenes.
By the mid 1800s these scenes were becoming more
popular, more elaborate, and more secular. People,
houses, stores, and other scenes common to daily life
Christmas Village Displays
were often used. During Victorian times the villages policies. Check feedback and see what others say
were often given more honor than the tree. People about the seller and his items.
sent hours setting everything up just right every
year. By the early part of the 1900s toy trains were Everyone has to start somewhere. Just choose a few
added to these small, bustling, cities. pieces every year and soon you will have a huge
display that the neighbors oooh and ahhh over every
Japan began mass producing inexpensive cardboard year. Store the houses in the original boxes, tagged
houses and other buildings after World War II. These with the dae you bought them for easy identification.
buildings had holes cut into them so that Christmas
lights could be inserted to make them look more Most of all, have fun!
real. Cellophane was used for windows. Now nearly
anyone could afford these houses that flooded the
market and they became more popular than ever.
In the early 1970s Department 56 and other compa-
nies began creating these village pieces in porcelain
and ceramic. They were even more popular than
the cardboard homes had been and collectors floc-
ked to stores to buy them. Every year they retired
some pieces and introduced new ones to keep the
items collectible. Today these collectible Christmas
houses can go for hundreds of dollars when they
are in good condition.
Collecting Antique Houses
You can often find these antique houses made of It is also gorgeous at night. (c) Marye Audet 2008
cardboard on eBay and once in awhile you will find
the very old hand carved items from the earlier
centuries. Prices at Christmas time are understan-
dably more than at other times of the year so if you
want to start collecting these items try to wait until
Even so the prices can be reasonable. The vintage
cardboard houses from the late 1940s and 1950s can
often be found for 25.00 or less, while hand made
fences and accessories form earlier times tend to
start at around 50.00. As always ask lots of questions
and be sure that you understand the seller’s return