Homes speak to me, especially older homes. They call out with all kinds of ideas, usually excellent, about decorating or renovating. Problem is, they keep badgering me to make the changes. At times I think I could end up with something akin to the Winchester Mystery House.
Long time past, I moved into a new-older home one February. There was an enormous bay window in the dining room, with a built in shelf across its base. It called out to me.
I need a Christmas Village.
That was all that was needed. I pretty much did the rest on my own.
Because I had never even seen a Christmas Village, other than a group of Victorian homes sitting on a blanket of snow, it seemed that a bit of research was in order. I wanted a village that would fit on that very large window shelf.
Like Christmas trees, there are all kinds of Christmas Villages on the internet and YouTube but, unlike trees, not a lot of practical information — more in the neighborhood of Show and Tell.
It didn’t really matter; I had my own personal bay window with its own personal plan: it wanted a downtown area with a Christmas carousel as well as a mountain area for winter sports and an outlying home area. oh, as there was a bit of an ocean view from that very large bay window, of course the village needed some water, a shore, a lighthouse and a couple of sailboats.
This had all the makings of a Winchester Mystery Christmas Village, which meant that the next step was pricing said village. Holy Mackerel, after looking at the retail prices, I could purchase a real village with its own mountain and ocean front resorts.
Then I remembered Ebay. March and April are not particularly high demand months for Christmas villages and I got some very good deals. The village just sort of grew and grew. I was fast becoming the Christmas Village mogul or sucker, depending on your point of view.
As the boxes arrived, one after another, the postman began looking at me like I was nuts. Perhaps he was correct. He finally asked if he could see this village once it was finished. I invited him back for a December show. Now, I was committed.
I realized I had no idea, and the internet was of no help, as to how to actually build the village. The pieces were all sitting on the dining room table, ready to go but the questions were Where? How?
I knew the mountain area had to have height, so I pulled out the grandkids’ old wooden block set and built a mountain. In time, the framework actually stayed upright and held a village piece, then a second piece and a third. Whoo Hoo!
Next came the town and outlying areas. As I had purchased everything piecemeal, not everything matched, but oh well, that’s the way it goes. Few people even noticed.
The electrical was interesting which is another way of saying it’s an electrical nightmare. It still is. I have visions of my dad, an electrical contractor, sitting on a cloud, shaking his head and keeping watch over the maze of wires and extension cords that worm their way through the wooden block formations. It all works, thank you, Dad.
The last part was putting on the snow, ice and small pieces that make the whole visual move and dance. People walking, kids building a snowman, well, you get the idea. This was getting more and more complicated. I wondered if I would soon need a script.
Finally, everything got packed away until December, when I discovered that the trial runs were time well spent. The village went up reasonably easily for a two day project and ran all through December.
My four young grandsons delighted in it and wanted to visit often over the years. I learned about the current superhero by who was left on the ski slopes to prank me. I’ve entertained Superman, Spiderman and Darth Vader among others.
What I didn’t expect was that grown up boys — aka, men, including Mr. Postman — also took as much delight in the village as my grandsons and would spend great amounts of time reminiscing over the village as well as wondering how a mere woman could build such a monster.
It’s been a number of homes since the home of the original large bay window, which is no doubt very sad and empty this December, and I realize that this will be the last year of my hosting the Christmas Village; the grandkids are growing up and superheroes, Santa and family Christmases at Grandma’s are fading into warm memories.
It’s no doubt time the village gets divided among the boys so that they’ll be ready to entertain their children and grandchildren in future Christmases that I suspect will come all too quickly…