I once saw a snowy village of epic proportions.
By snowy village I mean a set of decorative miniature Christmas houses made of porcelain and resin arranged into little (or large) towns. You can see these houses in stores this time of year. The brand I see most often is Lemax.
The quaint little houses are embellished with wreaths and holiday lights — all set aglow by a small light bulb nestled inside. There are wee trees and playful accessories like animals, sledders, snowmen, ice skaters, and boutiques to help bring the village to life.
One day (many years ago) a woman, who was a client of the company I worked for, invited our company to her home to see her snowy village in its full glory.
Prior to our visit, we’d heard of the snowy village through the grapevine.
The woman often named a house in the little town for somebody she knew. She tried to tie the little structures to friends or family members. A red house was named for someone who had a red house in real life. Flowers and extra plants for somebody who gardened.
The houses were set up on little streets in little rows. There was a forest section and a graveyard section.
It had been an honor, a statement of fondness and loyalty, to have your “own” house in her snowy village.
One day, as legend goes, an employee left her company on not-so-great terms. So his “house” was yanked from the happy little rows of homes in her snowy village. His privileges had been revoked.
Rumors of the snowy village, and its rules, had spread and there was talk and pretty soon everybody had heard of the snowy village (and what could happen to your house).
One day we were treated to a field trip to see the village up-close and personal.
The ostentatious snowy village covered three banquet tables in her expansive kitchen. The village alone had more square footage than my entire real-life kitchen has today.
There were raised, snowy hills with skiers. There were landscapes and moving parts that came alive with the push of a button.
While I had no interest in having my own Christmas village at the time, it was fun and entertaining (in multiple ways) to see the make-believe town with all its joy (and missing houses). It was a bit of an oddity, but the idea grew on me (of villages, not yanking houses).
With the passing of years, I could see appeal in setting up our own, much smaller, Christmas village.
We can make a scene in a happy little town where I never need to vacuum the floor, empty the trash, or do the laundry to have it look pristine and well-kept. I can decorate an entire house with holiday trimmings by simply removing it from its box and plugging it in.
We do not name any parts or buildings after anybody in particular. But we like things that we can related to —a reminder of something we’ve done in the past.
Our newest addition is a mini Christmas tree sales lot. It reminds us of purchasing fresh-cut trees, and the time my daughter volunteered at a tree lot. We get a splash of instant holiday joy.
This week, I discovered that I can buy Lemax brand village items for a lot less.
Lemax products are often clever, but the paint is not the highest quality. It varies a lot (sometimes the little people have lopsided eyes). Most of the figures are resin, not porcelain. And I think all the pieces are made in China. So they shouldn’t be expensive, but prices have climbed over the years.
Our local Michaels craft store had been our go-to shop to see Lemax Christmas (or even Halloween) Villages. There are several Michaels stores nearby. But we’d limit buying to times there was a good sale or we had a good coupon (or those rare times when it’s possible to use a coupon on a sale-price item).
This week I saw that both Sears and Kmart carry Lemax. These stores aren’t as close to home, but their everyday prices are often less than Michaels sale prices.
Take the new Snow Angels figures for example. At Michaels they are $13.99. With the usual 40%-off, sale price that becomes $8.40. With a coupon and a sale price, on a very few days I might be able to squeeze that down to $5.60. At Sears the same item is a regular price of $6.99, and the Sears website currently lists them on sale for $3.49. Michaels, I’m disappointed in you!
Somehow, I feel much more holiday joy gazing at Snow Angels that cost $3.49. I think I’ll use our own full-size Sears and Kmart shops for future little Christmas village purchases. Maybe, I’ll yank the Michaels village store out of our options for now.
The WordPress Daily Post’s Daily Prompt was Ostentatious.
This blog post is also for NaBloPoMo, Day 19.