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Christmas Villages – 5 Easy Fixes for Creating a Magical Village Window Display


There are several ways to display your miniature harvest or Christmas village from a window during the holiday season. Regardless of whether you plan on using a garden style, bay, or simply a flat window, by following one or more of these time tested suggestions, you will bring a magical quality to the miniature village you seek to bring to life.

Envy and admiration are two words that come to mind when my eyes catch sight of a home during the holidays with a window or two put to good decorating use for all to see. Envy for the fact that I do not have an adequate window space to use as they do, and admiration for making good use of it with a festive display.

When planning out a window style village display, one of the first things to decide is whether or not you want to block the view of the rest of the room behind the display with some type of backdrop. This can be accomplished easily in the case of garden style windows whereby the homeowner is able to use curtains or blinds already in place to shield the view inside. Lighter shaded curtains are great for a daytime effect, while darker curtains are perfect for twilight or nighttime effects. You may want to consider purchasing inexpensive black material or felt to hang in front of lighter colored curtains if you prefer a night time effect. Or light colored material over dark curtains if you prefer a daylight scene. What makes garden style windows so perfect is the open base area that makes it so much easier to build and terrace your display.

Since standard windows are flush with the wall and normally do not have a deep base area like garden windows, it is a little more difficult to create a backdrop, but not impossible. You would need to create a framed enclosure to fit around the table you push up against the window. Inside the back of that framework is where you would hang your backdrop of choice. We will save building an enclosure for another article. To be perfectly honest, most villagers with standard windows will decide to forego the backdrop for an open display look. Why? Simply because their village display, although magical in appearance from the outside, will be less pleasant to look at from behind with an enclosure.

We will focus on the essential elements of a ˜magical display', and will save discussing the types of displays for another article to follow. Here are a few uncommon, yet easy display techniques that more villagers should consider for a more interesting display that will knock viewers socks off:

Terracing: Anyone who has seen our professional displays will notice right away that we are able to achieve focus on individual vignettes within our displays by terracing. Simply stated, place groupings of buildings, accessories and characters at different levels within your display. You will be able to draw the focus of the viewer to each individual vignette which tells its own story within the larger village display. The easiest method is to stack books under your vignette to achieve the desired height of each grouping. Be sure to mask the presence of the books with artificial snow, shrubs, and trees.

Building Direction: I have gazed upon thousands of village displays in my time, and as a designer, nothing disappoints me more than seeing building after building lined up in a display all facing the same direction. Of course, the villager's aim is to show off each piece towards the front of the display for all to see. My immediate question though is, "How does that make your display stand out from Village B, Village C, and so on?" The answer should be obvious, it does not. More than 90% of all villages I see look like they were propped up quickly and plugged in just it time for the Christmas party to start. No thought given to making the display more visually appealing to the viewer. Try facing stores, and other buildings towards each other for a downtown main street type of effect, where the viewer finds themselves gazing down the center of town and can more easily imagine themselves shuffling in and out of stores in the town. The sides of the buildings will be pointed towards the front of the display, but the viewer is still able to see one side plus the front of each building.

Clutter: To be direct, get rid of it. There is absolutely no reason to display every village piece you own unless you have decided to sell your collection. This is especially true in smaller display spaces. Free up some space around your village pieces to create a more appealing and less confusing display. The last thing you will want to see happen is watching viewers of your prized display walk away quickly because of a confused and chaotic village arrangement.

Less Snow: Yes, you heard me right. "But Stephen, how will my village look Christmasy if I do not add a lot of snow?" you sadly ask. The answer lies in the technique. Try sprinkling a little less snow, whether in the form of snowflakes or snowflurries, and add an earthtone turf effect such as a road or pathway. You can use sand, model train ballast, small gravel, or a combination of any of these. It is easy, very inexpensive, and will give your village a unique appearance well worth showing off.

Foliage: Add some home made landscaping features along with your store bought miniature trees to give a vivid and realistic life to your display that will mimic the real life size thing itself. Try using Spanish moss used for plant arrangements as small shrubs here and there. Or find leafless twigs from trees to represent wintry bare trees and mix them among your evergreen pine trees.