How to Create a Christmas Village Display

 Christmas Village Display Ideas from Marty's Musings

One year as a young bride I discovered the beauty of collecting miniature houses for Christmas. I had my family buy several of the Dickensville ones at half price at the end of the season and give them to me for my birthday.

2013 Christmas Home Tour from Marty's Musings

 Slowly my little village grew and grew until it became this lovely town full of family memories.

 Christmas Village Display Ideas from Marty's Musings

 We store the village in tubs marked specifically for this purpose and keep them in our storage building outside.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

Before we had these bookcases by the front door our village was wider and longer, but now it has been “downsized” to fit into the space right inside our front door.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

Over the years we have developed a system to all the madness that is our way of greeting visitors and family alike into our home. Here’s Tim to tell you all about it! 

From my DIY hubby: The foundation of Dickensville is this piece of 1/2″ plywood that has been trimmed and modified over the years to accommodate every little nuance in its construction.  It has rounded corners for safety, holes large enough to push electrical plugs through and connecting grooves cut to hide extra wires.  Some final markings to help and here we go!

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

After 150 many years of doing this we really don’t need the instructions anymore, but it still makes me chuckle that at one point we needed them.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

So, this part of the process is under my jurisdiction; specially sized saw horses are cleaned and brought inside and placed on paper plates.  We used to do this when we had carpet to protect it from the muck on the legs, but now it’s to protect the flooring.  It also helps the whole set-up to slide around, kind of like glides.  

The plywood is screwed into the saw horses, where marked (of course), which prevents any shift and a catastrophic collapse.  At one point we had cats that loved to jump onto our village and terrorize the town folks!

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

This makes sense when you see the finished product, but this is looking down Main Street, with houses and shops on either side.  The road is lined with streetlights that are stapled to the board and the extra wiring is pulled through the slots to the underside of the table.  Each house has a light (actually a night light sized bulb and retaining clip) and that cord is pushed through the holes.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display 

The next step is to place a white sheet over the plywood that has matching holes cut where they fall in the plywood.  Again, this is to allow for all the electrical connections to be made and hidden under the village.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

It is important to get the right side up and the left side right…see what I mean?!

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

Perhaps the most ratty part of our little community is the street lights.  There have always been 24 in Dickesnville, but they really take a beating year to year.  We used to drive screws through the bottom of the plywood and push the lights onto the screw to hold them in place, but, alas, one year they had to be replaced and the set-up changed.  

Now we just staple them to the board on either side with a construction stapler and pray they stay in place.  These lights will not be with us next year and their upgrades are already in storage!

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

Unseen here is my son under the board pulling the extra wire between lights through the sheet and those grooves in the plywood.  Everything gets hidden!

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

 And the lights are in place…wow, these things have really been abused.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

One of the more clever ideas was using a roll-up street that we found at Lowe’s one year.  It is similar to that magnet material and looks just like a brick street when finished.  For sidewalks we use sandpaper cut into strips and placed where appropriate.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

Our oldest daughter even wrote out a diagram one year so that we would remember where to put everything! 

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

Here the houses and shops have been placed, but we are far from done!  There are trees and people, carolers and snowmen, ice skaters and sledders, vendors and town folk soon to follow.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

This is the moment when everyone is called back in to participate – the throwing of the snowflakes!  It has always, always been our children’s favorite part.  This happens after everything has been placed and the pillow stuffing snow covers the ground.  

If you look really close you can see our new touch this year – smoke coming from chimneys!  We’ve never done that and my son came up with the idea to use a sticky dot and wispy cotton to achieve the effect.  It is very cute.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

So this is the moment captured!  It is snowing like crazy…no global warming in Dickensville!

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

The final touches are the candy stripe skirt stapled to the edge of the board and a very clever use of burlap ribbon from my wife.  We also decided to hang a sheet behind the village this year to hide the bookshelves.  It helped with pictures but also gave all the focus to one of the essentials in our Christmas season…Dickensville!  Push everything into place (VERY carefully) and we are done!

2013 Christmas Home Tour from Marty's Musings

Our Dickensville village greets Christmas visitors to our home both day and night.

2013 Christmas Home Tour from Marty's Musings

Marty: The funniest part of this process is watching the kids bicker discuss the correct placement of all the people and whether some of the houses got too much snow!

This may be my village, but it’s a family tradition and a wonderful way to welcome folks into our home.

Filled with houses and people collected through the years, our Dickensvile village delights us throughout the day and night.

It’s been a busy season already, full of Christmas projects and goodies. Have you seen the rest of our home all decked out for the holidays?

2013 Christmas Home Tour

Some of the DIY projects new to our home this year are the fence board Christmas sign

Fence Board Christmas Sign from Marty's Musings

the no mess handmade glitter ornaments

No Mess Handmade Glitter Ornaments

and my Christmas rag wreath and ornament.

Christmas Rag Wreath and Ornament from Marty's Musings

Here’s a perfect appetizer for the holiday season

Veggie Christmas Tree Appetizer

and the best sweet and salty nibble.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites from Marty's Musings

Linking with: Tater Tots and Jello, Jennifer Rizzo

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Comments

  1. I think your village is lovely and a wonderful family tradition. I am smiling (and giggling too) at Tim’s play-by-play of how village construction happens. You guys are hardcore.
    Now, which of you has a degree in city planning? Maybe you could lend your expertise to the city of Greensboro!
    Now, where did you find your snow? I need to get some for a last-minute craft.

    • He’s gotten pretty good at those tutorials, hasn’t he? I tell him to dumb it down for people like me :) It really has evolved over many, many years and was the source of much consternation! Bickering on where the houses went and who had to crawl under the table and hook up the houses. Busy and crazy and funny! That’s our family.

      Working for the city? Would it be a steady paycheck? The snow that you sprinkle can be found at Michael’s or maybe even Target. The snow drifts come in bags from a craft store as well. We recycle them as much as we can. You know me. Thrifty to the core!

  2. I love your village. I had started collecting houses and we had a flood and they were broken. I wondering if a you could use dreft or epson salts would work for the snow, just wondering.
    God Bless and a Merry Christmas!

    • Hi, Shirley. I’m so sorry you had a flood in your home. That’s heartbreaking. As far as epsom salts or dreft, I’m not sure. We reuse what we can of the snow drifts and I don’t know if the salts would get sticky during the year when it’s stored. You could probably google it :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Awesome planning and layout. I see how having the plan makes it so much easier and less of a hassle. I’m going to see what I can do for ours next year.

  4. Fantastic idea! – Andrea @ scrapality.com

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