Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Tradition of our Village...

In 1978 while shopping for Christmas decorations at Hills Department Store in our home town, my mother purchased 5 Christmas village pieces. A green church, a pink victorian house, a general store, a chapel, and a ginger bread house. She brought the pieces home and set them up on her grandmothers buffet and placed cotton all around them for a snowy effect.

That began my fascination with the little houses wondering what it was like to live in that pink house, shop at the general store, and go to church in that steepled church. As I grew older my mother noticed my great love for the village and decided to add to it. We discovered that the Department 56 Original Snow Village was a perfect size to mix with the five houses we already had. So we added 1 to 2 pieces a year. Usually it was one house and one accessory each year. The village quickly grew to cover an antique game table. But my mother always made sure I had plenty of room for displaying it. Each year we tried very hard to set up the little town differently.

When I moved into my first house my mother decided it was time for me to take the tradition of my village with me and share my love for it with my own children.

After my husband and I married, the village grew rapidly. This year we have over 300houses and accessories. My dad still buys me one house every Christmas. Throughout the year, Donnie and I manage to buy various pieces we find during our travels at shows, yard sales and consignment shops.

Last year my mother-in-law told us of a Department 56 dealer who was going out of business. As a result we were able to add 20 to 30 pieces.

Finally, a few years ago I bought a book on the Department 56 Villages and to my surprise I discovered those five houses that started this mad tradition were from the first line produced for the Original Snow Village. It only made my village that much sweeter.

My husband and I usually set the village up over a 4 day span. He unboxes, I set it up and light it. When my daughter was born I stopped using the artifical snow so she wouldn't eat it. My children absolutely light up and sparkle like I did at age. Courtney turns it on each evening, always pointing and asking questions. JB makes sure it is setup politically correct as it can be, and Tanner just stands in awe.

I can tell you the story behind most every piece. Its amazing how a tradition can come from a collection, and the memories that a collection makes. In this house all will tell you that the "Village" is the most important part of "Our Christmas Tradition". What is are your family's traditions?

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