Charming snow-covered streetscapes and bustling businesses decorated for the holidays. Neat rows of houses, windows glowing in the dusk. Ice skaters, snowman-makers, shoppers and shopkeepers.
It’s hard not to be captivated by the miniature world of a Christmas village. Whether it resembles gingerbread or something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, a Christmas village embodies the magic and wonder of the holiday season.
What is a Christmas Village?
Christmas village displays grew from the tradition of setting up miniature nativity scenes to represent the birth of Christ. Over time, nativity settings grew to include other characters of the Christmas story, like the wise men, angels, shepherds and livestock.
As the custom of setting up nativity scenes spread through Europe, they were adapted to suit the style of the region and the decorator. In some cases, nativity sets grew to elaborate proportions, depicting a wide range of townspeople and scenery, giving birth to the Christmas village.
How to Decorate With a Christmas Village
These days, Christmas villages often are displayed separately from a nativity scene. There is no single way to create a Christmas village display. Each is unique, a personal representation of their creators.
However, some things are similar. A traditional Christmas village is composed of a cluster of the types of buildings you would find in a typical community: homes, businesses, municipal buildings and the like. Decorators often like to accessorize their Christmas village set with people going about their day to animals, trees and other objects common to the environment.
For a city setting, that might mean including street lamps and park benches, for instance, while a Victorian Christmas village might include a group of carolers, flower-sellers and other street vendors.
Several manufacturers produce Christmas village accessories that can be combined to form entire themed communities. In fact, some collectors go all-out with their Christmas village sets, creating elaborate multi-level displays that may sprawl across a table or take up an entire room.
For some, setting up a miniature Christmas village is a family tradition. The village might sprawl under the Christmas tree, spread across a large table or occupy every available surface in a room.
Those who prefer just one or a very few snow village inspired pieces also have many choices. Larger Christmas village decorations, like a snow-covered church, might be placed on the hearth or by the tree. Individual Christmas houses may be surrounded by garland, clustered with a spray of pine or a few small decorations on a mantel or bookshelf.
Christmas village decor is so popular these days, you can find it in a wide range of styles, from whimsical to detailed to rustic to minimalist. Whether you buy a set, build a collection gradually through the years or prefer just one or two signature items, a Christmas village display exudes a certain charm and nostalgia in tune with the holidays.
Take a look at some of the traditional and non-traditional Christmas village houses, accessories and inspired decor available to add a touch of holiday magic to your home this holiday season.
Traditional Christmas Village
A classic Christmas village can always use another classic ceramic Christmas house or shop. Many Christmas villages depict certain eras, like the Victorian period, or reflect a nostalgic Norman Rockwell-like mood. Others channel holiday fantasies of candies and gingerbread. You’ll also find Christmas tree village pieces linked to favorite Christmas stories and movies. Whatever your style, Christmas villages enable you to create your own Christmas story in miniature.
Non-Traditional Christmas Village
Many Christmas decorations seem to have been inspired by Christmas villages. Individual buildings common to a Christmas village can be used singly or in small groups to enhance your holiday decor. From a snow-covered church to a rustic cabin or even a crystal castle, there’s a size and style Christmas house to suit your taste and decor. Set a slender country church by the hearth, or cluster simple white ceramic houses on a bookshelf or mantel. Separately or combined with other decorations, Christmas houses enhance holiday decor just about anywhere in your home.
Christmas Village Accessories
Christmas houses are charming, but it’s the little details that truly create the magical atmosphere of a snow village and make each one unique. Human and animal figures, lighted accessories and seasonal scenery are only a few of the trimmings that can dress up your Christmas town. From bottle bristle pine trees to miniature bustling townspeople to a whimsical Christmas fair, you’ll find a limitless variety of Christmas village accessories to add character and flair to your holiday arrangement.
Christmas Village Sets & Vignettes
Small Christmas village sets and vignettes are great options for those who love the look of a Christmas village but don’t have the space for a large display. Sets are a time saving alternative to collecting each Christmas village piece individually. You’ll also find Christmas decorations that offer the feel of a Christmas village, but take up far less space. Some have the added charm of lights, music and animation.
A Christmas village can take virtually any form you like, representing your own version of the holiday. Even for those whom the idea of a Christmas village seems fantasized or idealized, miniature villages evoke the best of the season’s magic, sparkle and good will.
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