The Humble Beginnings of Xmas Village
Talk about Christmas Creep! This is the true story of adventures of an accident prone Jew who took her Columbus Day holiday to build a Christmas Village. Jesus was a Jewish carpenter, right?
One of the first things that I loved about my boyfriend Frank was how close he was to his friends. They are his tribe, his “shoulder brothers” and an awesome group of guys. One of these guys, Jerry has a wife named Chrissy. Chrissy and I have gotten especially close and we all spend lots of time together. I would be lying if I didn’t say that a certain little 5 year old named Becky has something to do with it. Becky is their daughter, who despite being totally unrelated to me, I consider my niece. I have known her since before she was born and she is just one of the best things to happen to me. She loves her Uncle Frank and Aunt Ecka (that’s me!), and I am proud to be a part of her life. So, these are the major players in this tale of Christmas.
Every year, for years (Jerry and Chrissy were high school sweethearts) they buy another piece for their Christmas Village, which they put out the day after Thanksgiving. You know, the little mini-houses and “stuff” that I thought only old ladies have (Chrissy is totally an old lady). They let me help them set-up the display table last year (yes, I invite myself over every Christmas) and I was making fun of them, blahblah. So, we started talking about how we could make it better next year. And that’s when the fun began. We drew out a work calendar, divided responsibility, watched awful VHS videos for inspiration and … well – here we are now. The general plan was to edit the amount of buildings we put up, build some decent terrain on actual foam instead of a folding table and get better and better each year. It’s like what happens when old ladies meet nerds.
First, we went to Home Depot for supplies. This was our first violation of child labor laws.
When we got everything home (giant cart totally not needed) we decided the first order of business was to glue together the foam pieces that would be our basic “platform.” We were still a little unsure of how this was all going to work, but we had to start somewhere. Also, we learned that while Aleene’s Tacky Glue is good for everything, it’s not good for gluing styrofoam to styrofoam. A hot glue gun will melt it a bit, but man-oh-man does it hold.
Then we started laying out where some of the houses would go, how to hide wires and answered important civil engineering questions like “how do you get from the pet store to the chapel” and “does our village of five people really need a fire department and a police station?” Please note the diagrams and schematics – these were drawn up, traced and plotted out weeks ago.
Then, it was my turn to break stuff.
Luckily, we had a gluing station all set up. The casualties included my manhandling of a fire station, and Chrissy’s unfortunate run-in with attic stairs and a mini-gazebo.
Finally, we started some of the “terrain building” in which we kind of just started hacking into things and scratching it with a steel brush and seeing if we could give this sad little village some texture for snow and sense of depth–once we answered the critical issues of “how many brides make sense to have in front of a chapel” and “is having a lake in the middle of a village safe?” of course.
Chrissy and Jerry are saints for not freaking out when their kitchen and dining room floor looked like this (and this is after some cleaning up)
Luckily, we had a helper (who broke less than we did.)
But after a lot of work, we got it to a point where we are pretty happy with it, and our next steps will be making it more permanent, wire management, decoration and detail work, including tons of trees, lights and mini figures. We will probably do it closer to Thanksgiving, and I will make sure I document the process. One thing I am proud about is that we all seem to be aware of our varying levels of crafting ability, and we are challenging ourselves, but taking it in small, managable chunks.
By the way, while we are doing all this (which took the better part of the afternoon, including shopping, etc.) Becky put us all to shame with her own rendition of a Christmas Village (in between yelling at us for making a mess).