Christmas will be here in less than 10 days. Truthfully, I'd like to jump ahead to December 26 and skip it all together this year. I knew it would be a hard year, difficult to find the holiday spirit. In fact, I've put off decorating until just the past couple of days, with the exception of the big tree which Bailey helped put up over Thanksgiving break.
I normally put up my Dickens Village around that same time, but I just couldn't find the gumption to do it. Finally I decided that I had to at least get out a few pieces and create a pared-down display, instead of all 30+ houses. Even though my Christmas spirit is lacking this year, a wise person once told me that sometimes you have to "fake it until you make it!"
When sorting through my mom's Christmas things this past summer, I discovered cords with multiple light bulbs, designed to accommodate lots of houses without the bulk of individual cords. Mom had her own village and never told me about these handy cords, or (more likely) if she did I paid no attention! Boy, did they make my life easier! :)
Instead of the 12 or more houses I normally place on this shelf, I decided to use only five of the original houses given to me by my parents back in the late 1980's. After positioning the houses with the cord (and elevating one house on an upside down casserole dish), I added quilt batting "snow" to cover everything. Luckily there is an outlet in the cabinet below, allowing me to run an extension cord through the hole in the shelf to reach it.
Next I added a few trees. One can never have too many trees! One year I broke off pieces of tree branches to create some variety. I'm not quite that ambitious this holiday season!
And finally I added a few people and smaller pieces.
There is a shelf on each side of the fireplace, so I set up the other one in the same fashion using additional older houses, including the puppet theater at the far left. When Bailey was a little girl, my parents made her a real puppet theater and gave me this miniature one that same Christmas. I still remember how excited they were!
Finally, I placed seven houses down the center of the dining room table. No cords, just trees and people. I'll leave most of these in place as a centerpiece for Christmas dinner.
I usually set up part of my village on top of the china cabinet, but not this year. Instead I put two antique crystal pieces and one of our old world Santas there, high out of the reach of certain kitties!
So altogether, I put out 19 of my 30+ houses this year. Using fewer pieces gave me room to use some different decorations this year. Not a bad compromise, and I'll admit that putting up the village helped me feel a tiny bit of the holiday spirit. Traditions are important, even though they're sometimes hard. They can help you feel grounded when you need it most.