Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Dickens Village

"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself."~Charles Dickens

I've always wanted to see England at Christmas.  It makes me think of plum pudding with a sprig of holly on top, roasted chestnuts, and those charming old buildings with bow windows and snow decorating the window panes.  I picture centuries old fireplaces with crackling fires, wassailing, and voices with Cockney accents singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."  In essence, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

This year, our new (two years ago) entertainment center underwent a Christmas metamorphosis for the first time.  I'm sure most of you have seen the Department 56 villages about a million times, and I don't want to bore you with a million and one times.  But...we've been collecting this village (off and on) for about 20 years, and we're kind of attached to it.  Some years I don't put it out at all -- just don't have the time or energy to drag it all out.  But the hubby and I really enjoy looking at it during the holidays, and our son was fascinated with it when he was little.

Here are some pictures of our Christmas village -- along with part of the TV screen and two black speakers in the background.  :-/

Like most of our other Christmas things, this village has sentimental meaning for me because all the pieces were given to me by family members over the years.  My husband bought me this cathedral last year.  I wasn't planning to add any more buildings, as we had exactly the right amount to fit on the entertainment center.  But this piece was discounted last Christmas, so my husband surprised me with it.  It really does look pretty with the other pieces.

The first building I got was The Old Curiosity Shop; my mom gave it to me for Christmas.  My mother-in-law gave me the White Horse Bakery that same Christmas, and she also gave me the fruit vendor.

Do you see the sign hanging on the front of the King's Road Post Office?  I love all the details in this village.

The next Christmas, my mom gave me the the Knottinghill Church, and another year she gave me Doolittle's flower vendor.  Well, you get the picture.  I won't bore you with who gave me every single piece.  But I will tell you about one more that's really special to me.

See the man in the top hat carrying a big stack of books?  He's in front of a sign that reads "Antiquarian Bookseller."  Our son, Will, picked that out for me all by himself several years ago, and I just adore it.  Will knows that I worked at a book store for four years before his dad and I got married, and I love books.  This was the perfect addition to our little English village.

Unfortunately, you can see the little wires for the street lamps in some of these pictures.  They're fairly thin wires and they're white, so I thought they might not be too visible.  But in close-up photographs, everything shows.  Next year, we'll have to cut four small holes in the felt and run the wires underneath, like we've done in the past.

Thank you for visiting!  May your days be merry and bright.  :)


I'm joining:


  1. Denise,
    your village is Beautiful.. what wonderful pieces you've collected and its wonderfully displayed.

    enjoy every moment of that Magical world

  2. Sooo lovely, indeed! Tomorrow I am going to Shere - I'll see if it is as picture perfect as your village - I expect it is not :) But it does have a cathedral.

    I have to say they have A LOT of specialty Christmas desserts here - the Christmas pudding, minced pies, etc. Let me just say they are just awful! But it definitely signals that Christmas is nearing as they are being sold in stores.

    I do love the Christmas crackers, however, which I think are starting to catch on in the US?

  3. I have a village that I collected in the early-mid 90's. I always loved to see it all put together. I haven't even unpacked it since I moved here in 2008 :(. Last Christmas I did not see one village at all in Blogland. This year, people seem to be bringing them out again. That's a good thing. xo

  4. I loved the tour! And all the details! The man climbing the ladder to light the lamp---wow. It all is magical, that's for sure and the cathedral tops it all! (and it did not see the wires, even with looking! LOL)

  5. Oh your Christmas village is so pretty! It makes me feel so cheery and festive.

    May the peace and joy of the season be yours.

  6. Oh my word, this is totally amazing. I love all of your village. The church is unreal. Such a beautiful display. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  7. What a delightful village! It would make me smile broadly each time I looked at it Denise :o)
    Rose H

  8. Your village is beautiful. I don't put all of mine out either, but I do enjoy it.

  9. I collect the Dickens Village too...but I have not put them out in years!!...I have about 100 houses and I have five out of the original 7 houses...I started collecting them when they first came out...and they went on sale after Christmas...then, the collection went crazy and you could not find some of the pieces.....I keep saying that I need to get them down from the attic to display them, but never seem to find enough time to set them up!!!....Love your collection...you have displayed them so beautifully!!

  10. What a great idea for a Table Top Tuesday post at Christmas, Denise! I love those villages. My mom has a wonderful collection. She's like you and stuck to the collecting of it. Me? I had a notion to start collecting and wanted to do the literary series. I have a grand total of THREE.

    At any rate, I love them, and YOURS is so impressive, television screen and all. Ha!

  11. What a wonderful collection, Denise! I think they all such sentimental attachment for you...especailly the little fella carrying the books bought by your son. I'm sure it does require a lot of energy to set it up, but it's magical.

  12. Oh my!!! It was grand to have been able to visit England at Christmas. When our daughter and son-in-law lived there 7 years ago, already, it is one of the times I will always treasure!!! IT was GRAND!!! Wishing you a Christmas in England!!! You deserver it!!!

  13. Your village is a delight. (I have one somewhere...not as elaborate...though it seems to be lost this year.) All the sentimental things about each gifting make it very special indeed. Talking about our treasures is one of life's joys. Don't deny yourself! ☺

  14. I love your village, especially the cathedral. Is it likely to be Westminster Abby? I remember seeing it in a store once and thought about buying it. Part of my village I bought at a little antique store here in town owned by a little old lady. The houses were made by Lefton, a company figurine collectors know well and is no longer in business. Gertie was a special lady, so my village reminds me the great times I spent in Gertie's store. Here Dept. 56 is very hard to locate. The two stores that used to carry it have both closed. On our first tour of London we took a walking tour of the part of town where Dickens' is said to have used in his novels. We also toured one of the houses where he lived for a short time. I want to to go back. Your village has wonderful detail and I like your idea of putting wires underneath the felt. I have mine covered in snow.

  15. It was a joy to see your village, Denise. The cathedral is amazing! It's easy to see why the bookstore is a favorite of yours. How thoughtful of your son to pick it out for you.
    Knowing that you also live in NC, I'm wondering if you've ever been to Salem Creek in Winston-Salem? They have an amazing display of the villages on their second floor.
    Hope you're enjoying a nice weekend.

  16. It's all lovely. I have thought about collecting this village, but never have. My mom sets up a smaller one under her Christmas tree each year. Enjoy your precious village. It does take one back to the UK doesn't it?

    Big Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  17. Love your Christmas Village. I have quite a few pieces, but haven't put it up in a few years.

    Wonderful to have you at Seasonal Sundays!

    - The Tablescaper

  18. I love your Christmas Village. They are one of my favorite parts of Christmas decor. I haven't bought any new pieces in a while myself with the exception of a General Store that I ran across at Goodwill over the summer. It was in excellent condition and only $5 so I couldn't resist.
    I put mine out for Tristan this year. He seems so amazed by the ones we look at in the stores. I thought I was done with mine, but then my grandmother passed away this past week. I got her Corner Drug Store and a few of the people and trees. I just made room for the extra piece this morning. Now I will remember how she and I used to set up her village each year when i lived with her as I set mine up each year.
    I love all your pieces. I'm hoping to add a few more to my collection. Thanks for sharing. It's always fun to see how others set up their display.

  19. love it! We had a village when I was a child, and I have some pieces now but nothing major...yours is wonderful! :)

  20. I am in love with your Dickens Village! I loved hearing who gave you each piece - each one is so unique with so much detail, altogether making a gorgeous village. I, too, love London and would love to go for Christmas, that would be so much fun! Congrats on the feature at Marty's! Mary

  21. That church is fantastic! Beautiful! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home and have a Merry Christmas!

  22. I never tire of looking at these magical villages! We never had one when I was growing up, but I would see them in other homes and was just fascinated by them! You guys have a beautiful collection of pieces, and your new cathedral is just fabulous!!! I couldn't see the white wires you referred to...not that they would matter when you're looking at something this cool!!!

  23. I adore your village!! I have always loved them but only recently started collecting pieces maybe 2-3 years ago. I will pick them up at yard sales, i actually got an entire box full from one lady for $5! I know that I don't need anymore, but it is SO hard to stop, especially when you find them at great prices or get them as gifts! They are just simply magical, its so fun to put them up and arrange them!

  24. I can see how you can be attached to each new piece quite quickly. It is a beautiful village. A tradition you can pass down and remember many fond memories through the years.Hard to pick a favorite but the CATHEDRAL is spectacular!



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