For as long as I can remember, my mom has been collecting and adding each year to her Christmas village. When my parents built their current home they built the mantle over the fireplace with the village in mind.
Michael and I helped my mom set up the village this year. It took the three of us over three hours to put it all together. This is because it's more than just placing some figurines around the buildings. The village has a story, and each figurine is placed to tell part of the story. And of course, as we place each piece we have to explain what is happening, such as the couple ice skating on the pond who have been in love for years, or the doctor walking home from work. Oh, and Amy Grant's Christmas music was blaring in the background.
We took plenty of pictures as we set up the village. Michael and I just got a brand new camera and were having fun playing with it as we worked, so many of these shots are our attempt to use our new camera.
Here is the mantle before we started:
The church always goes up on the hill looking over the town, on the far left of the village. This is the "country" part of the village, with the barn and farms and the houses. Further to the right becomes the city, with the town square, the inn, the watchmaker, the post office, the bakery, the newspaper, the school, and the train station. To the far right is the lighthouse, next to the ocean.
The Village Square, with the carolers, the shoppers rushing home with their presents, the ice skating pond, and the fountain in the middle of the town:
A must-have for any Christmas village: LOTS of snow!
This is one my favorite "stories": This is a mother with her young children waiting for her husband, who has been away for a long time, to come home on the train. He has just gotten home and is hugging one of the children in front of the train station.
The whole village:
I have a wonderful husband who not only helped set up the village and untangle the messy knot of cords and wires, but was patient as he listened to my mom and I explain each piece and figurine to him for three hours. Now that's what I call a Love Gift!