Displaying Department 56 Villages and Christmas Collectibles

Lemax and Department 56 Village Displaying Techniques


Designing an interesting display is an expression of individual taste that requires imagination, careful planning, thoughtful selection of many elements, and a basic understanding of style concepts. The most eye-catching displays are visually balanced, and offer a contrast of shapes, texture and color. Consider the size and complexity of the presentation as you plan your display. Creating a blueprint or layout will help you establish a master plan and will guide the arrangement of the entire display. Here are a few tips:


1. Begin by selecting the location for your display. Limited space should not limit your aspirations to create an attractive display. Consider some of these ideas:
  • In a wreath
  • On a mantel
  • In a bookcase
  • In a bay window
  • Up the staircase
  • On top of the piano
  • Inside a roll-top desk
  • As a centerpiece in the dining room
  • Under the Christmas tree



2. Make a blueprint or layout of how you want to arrange your display. Study your Village buildings carefully. Some have detailed sides, porches, or doorways that you will want to feature. Keep in mind the architectural personalities of the buildings when deciding where to place each one. Buildings can be set diagonally to feature details which might be hidden if the buildings are placed in a straight row.
3. Place the buildings on a piece of paper or poster board and trace the outline of their bases. Make sure not to use a permanent marker in case you accidentally touch the buildings. Label each outline with the name of the corresponding Village piece. Consider the placement of your mountains, ponds, roadways and large accessories.

The Base

4. Create a base for your display. The base will provide support for your display, and allow you to create elevations, adding depth and dimension to your setting. The base can be constructed to help hide the mechanics of your display. (See detailed instructions on Creating a Base).


5. An interesting backdrop for your display will create a “finished” look. You can paint a beautiful cloud-filled sky, a mountain range, big city skyscrapers, or a forest of evergreen trees yourself, or use one of the backdrops from Department 56.
6. For a frosty look, add small pieces of “Village Icicles” to your buildings, carriages and street signs. You can create a dramatic waterfall in a mountain scene, or a skating pond in a winter scene.


7. A mixture of trees will add ambiance and a sense of realism to any display. Department 56 offers more trees and shrubs, in a wider variety of shapes and sizes, than ever before. Frosted or unfrosted, topiary or bare branch, we have the perfect sisal and porcelain trees to landscape your display.
8. Fences and walls are a prime consideration in landscaping, adding privacy and beauty. They can be used to separate gardens and areas of work and recreation. Consider the architecture of your buildings and where you plan to place the boundaries. The North Pole is well-suited for a “Candy Cane Fence” while the “Victorian Wrought Iron Fence” is ideal for Dickens Village.
9. Add charm to your display with interesting roads, paths and walkways. Materials should be chosen for their interesting texture or color. Sawdust can be used as a ground cover near farm buildings, while small stones work well for quaint country roads. Department 56 offers a variety of colored gravel and moss, as well as cobblestone, brick and gravel roads.
10. Use a combination of snow products to achieve different looks and textures and provide a realistic wintry effect. The “Village Blanket of New Fallen Snow” or “Clear Ice” can be used to cover the entire base or just the edges of your display. Scatter “Real Plastic Snow” over the top for that fresh fallen look.

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