Considering how all out I go for Halloween, some people must think, “man, he must crush Christmas!” Well, the simple truth is – no I don’t.
Oh, when the kids were young I decorated with lights, both traditional and fancy, and even jumped on a few of what I call “fad” decorations, you know the ones that will be around for a season or two and then never be seen again.
But the yard never blossomed into the extensive scene for Christmas as it did for Halloween, probably because for one thing, there’s only X amount of storage space in the house, and I already had to build the closet that houses my Halloween stuff 11 months out of the year.
So as time passed and the kids grew, the Christmas decorations became fewer and fewer. But that doesn’t mean I totally abandoned my decorating spirit – no, I just moved it inside.
I love outside decorations (as long as they follow the rules), especially the fancy, complicated light and music shows that people are doing now, but I’ve always enjoyed a well decorated interior more.
Amazing trees, lights, decorations and flowers really make a house feel festive around the holidays, especially when you have friends and family over, and one element of Christmas décor that I’ve always found myself drawn to is the Christmas Village.
I remember being a young boy, waiting for that December day when my dad would haul down THAT piece of plywood from the attic. I know plywood doesn’t reek of “festive” but this plywood was special, this plywood not only functioned as the carpet cover for where the tree stood, but it also had one distinct feature – it had train tracks attached to it.
Yeah, my dad enjoyed that train set, even though it was nothing more than probably 15ft of track laid in an oval, but he’d had it for years and it had circled many a Christmas tree for the Morgan family. Of course, no Christmas train set is complete without a village to run through and we had ours, a basic collection of houses and shops scattered around the tracks with the requisite train station at the very front of the display.
I spent a lot of time playing with that train set, and maybe that’s where I get my affection for Christmas villages from. Still, I never really imagined owning one due to lack of space and no driving interest as an adult to start collecting one, until one fateful trip to Kohl’s and a knee jerk purchase.
There are hundreds of manufactures out there who create seasonal villages, and Kohl’s just happens to carry a collection manufactured under the brand St Nicholas Square Village. Like many such manufactures SNSV makes houses, shops and other buildings in a uniform size and style, creating new pieces for their collection every year, and retiring pieces after a couple of seasons.
I was looking around Kohl’s Christmas section one year when I stumbled onto them. I thought they were nice looking, and certainly looked good together, but there wasn’t anything that particularly made me want t……HOLY SHIT!!! THEY HAVE AN IRISH PUB!!! AN HONEST TO GOD BLEEDING IRISH PUB!!!!!
Stop. Calm. Yes, it’s an Irish Pub, but do you really need a single…BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT’S AN IRISH FREAKING PUB!! AND IT LOOKS COOL AND I KNOW JUST THE PERFECT SPOT….sigh…..breathe. If you buy just one building and display it by itself it will look stup….THEN I’LL BUY SOMETHING ELSE!!! THREE! FOUR!!! I DON’T CARE! I NEED TO HAVE AN IRISH PUB FOR THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE I DON’T HAVE AND AM NOT REALLY SURE I WANT!!!
It seems I always lose these battles with my inner me, especially when he goes all “caps mode” on me. So, against my better judgement I left Kohls a little beaten down and the proud possessor of one Christmas village styled Irish Pub. As soon as I got home, I opened the box and displayed it proudly on the sideboard that is in my living room.
And I was happy. And I was done…or so I thought.
The following seasons are a blur for me, but my single building has somehow turned into a small, humble village. It’s nowhere near the size of many villages people out there have collected, but it is bigger than anything I had imagined when my inner self yelled me into buying that initial piece, having grown from a “one piece on the sideboard” to a “one full sideboard and one coffee table” sized town.
Not a season can pass now without a visit to Kohl’s to see what new pieces SNSV have produced and to make matters worse, Tracey, who works the Kohl’s shopping system of percent off flyers and Kohl’s cash with the precision and artistry of a symphony musician, has now gotten into the act.
A few weeks ago, she returned from a shopping trip proudly carrying the newest addition to our village – the Biergarten, which not only is a very nice piece, but made me laugh.
A quick survey of what we now owned showed that an overall theme had infused its way into our wintry village. Not only did we have a Pub and a Biergarten but over the years we’d added a brewery, a winery, and a wine cellar.
In fact, a quick scan of the list of pieces SNSV has offered throughout the years showed that we’d purchased every alcohol related piece that they’ve released, and passed up on many nice, although more normal, pieces like the bowling alley, clock tower, post office, Santa’s workshop, and yes, even a Kohl’s store.
Oh sure, there are a few non-alcohol establishments on our “streets”. We have a pet shop (very important, I’m also eying their Animal Rescue piece that retires this year) and a coffee shop (not so important for us as we’re not coffee drinkers, but it is a very nice-looking piece and a village with all this booze probably could use the caffeine), and Tracey has added accessories like Christmas trees, street lights and even a fountain.
However, it seems that without really thinking about it, our village has grown into a representation of the things we enjoy in life. That’s not surprising however, I would imagine most people construct their villages based on aspects of their lives. After all, what fireman wouldn’t have the Firestation as part of his village, or someone who lives near the sea the Lighthouse piece?
And it wasn’t really apparent to me until Tracey walked in the house with the Biergarten that our Christmas village has grown into a collection that says something about who we are. What does your Christmas village say about you?