Friday, December 12, 2014

Return of Snow Village

My grandmother had ( and still has a smaller) house filled with shelves of collections.  She enjoyed nothing more than building collections for us,  her grandchildren.  She loved to give us items that we would have for years instead of crappy toys which wasn't always a popular philosophy when we were kids (and don't feel bad, we still got toys from her too).  I know a lot of people in that age group who are this way.  I believe, through my own unscientific analysis, that enjoying having pretty and unnecessary items that have no purpose except being seen and loved is a direct result of being children during the depression.  I tried to think of a widespread equivalent for my own age group (I say wide spread to be general because I know there are people much less fortunate than me) but there is none because we have always had everything we want and excess has never been lacking in our lives.  Actually, we have the opposite problem of having childhood rooms that were too messy and still struggle with closets that are too full and storage that is always at capacity.  I know I have struggle with this and it's pretty stupid.

When I was in middle school my mom told my sister and I (not my brother for some reason...hmmm...) that she and my grandma had the idea of starting a Department 56 Christmas Village collection for me and my sister so we could get a new piece every Christmas and for other special occasions.  That Christmas was when I received my first "Snow Village" piece.  It was a starter set called "Saturday Morning Downtown" and it had two stores, a few people, a car with a Christmas tree on the room, and a fake street.  When I was confirmed I received a church and Sunday school building and after that I can't remember when I got what.  The collection grew and soon I had a few houses, a John Deere shop, a Ford dealership, and a pub (Happy 21st Birthday!).  There is a corner drugstore with a big Coke bottle on the sign and a little shop with a Christmas tree lot attached.  This thing takes up a lot of space and soon the space under my bed was packed with the boxes for these houses and I said I didn't want anymore until I had more space.  This was in college.  Last year or the year before I said I would be open to more pieces and my mom gave me a house that is "grandmother's house" to represent me having a baby. 

It has been years since I set this up since I just haven't had room for it.  I set up a few buildings at my apartment in law school one year but since then I can't think that I have.  And then, chaos, AKA Ben, came into my life and I wouldn't have let that little furniture moving maniac anywhere near this my Christmas village.

This fall the whole set came to live with us now that we have that "bigger house" I've been saying I will get all these years and also because of the old farm house being vacated and my old bedroom ceasing to exist.  I once again wasn't going to set it up due to the risk of breakage and a lack of several hours of time alone to set it up and arrange it but the piles of boxes were out in the open because of unpacking the rest of the Christmas decorations and Ben zeroed in on the "tractor house", the John Deere shop, in it's box.  He wouldn't stop talking about it so I set up a small version with a house, my newest house which has never been out of the box, the church, a store and the "tractor house". 

It sure looks cute all lit up even though I left out all the extra accessories like people and cars (that would have been asking for breakage).  There are lots of Christmas villages that you can get out there but I think the fun part of the Dept. 56 ones (and what makes them cost what they do) is all the little details.  For example, that church as a real little bell in the tower even though the picture doesn't show it. 

This new house shows how really detailed they are getting with real wreaths and garlands. 

And check out the little trees in the window box on the side!  These have been very tempting for Ben and I made a huge deal about "it's not to touch, it's just to look!"

And, the ultimate cuteness...there is a real tree in the house and you can't see it but there is a fireplace decorated with a tiny Christmas village of its own in there.  Yeah for real. 
Out of curiosity, I looked at the Dept. 56 website to see what was happening in the Snow Village world this year and came upon this: 
Does this house look familiar?  It should.  It's the Griswold house from "Christmas Vacation"!  There is a Christmas Vacation series this year.  It includes Eddie's RV,
Todd and Margo's house,  
and even Todd and Margo themselves!
Margo doesn't really look like Julia Louis-Dreyfus but oh well, maybe they couldn't get permission for that. 
I set this up on my dining room buffet cabinet and so far, after about two weeks, nothing has been damaged.  The "tractor house" is the main attraction and Ben even put an extra tire up there. 

Sometimes he just stands on a chair and lines up a bunch of other junk next to it.

In this picture he was giving the tractor more Christmas trees.  It's actually pretty cute although unsettling. 

One of my favorite pieces is the Ford dealership because it has a turntable with a spinning car inside the main window and it actually spins.  I knew it would be too much temptation though.  Maybe next year.  Maybe one year I will be able to make one of those grand displays I saw on the Internet last night.  On Pinterest I even saw a board you could make that had holes for hiding cords.  Cord management is a major issue with Christmas village display.  In the past I have stacked some books under the fake snow to make some hills. That is as creative as I have been.
Last night we had pizza with Justin's darts friends and it was warm out so I stopped at our neighborhood "Griswold house" on the way home.  This house is only a few blocks from ours and they encourage people to get out and walk around their yard and take pictures.  They even have a Facebook page.

That's Ben if you couldn't tell.  I was sad to see that the arch walkway on the left was mostly turned off.  Those dang cheap Christmas lights!

This, if you couldn't tell, is a ski lift with stuffed animals riding in the chairs. 

This is a ferris wheel.  I tried to get a picture of the room with the glowing balls.  They used a lot of plastic cups around lights this year to create some neat effects. 

He looks terrified but was really just captivated!

Choo choo!  I love when people do this stuff!  Yes, it's tacky and obnoxious but who cares. 

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