Growing up we had Christmas tree traditions, we had cookie traditions and we had decorating traditions.
Our house was pretty typical PNW, open, airy and with tons of big windows to let our forest of a backyard into our home. Our couch floated in the middle of the big, natural wood roofed room, with only a sofa table to separate the space between it and the expansive windows.
Generally, this table held two matching lamps and the odd bowl of candles or some other simplistic decoration. Christmas was the only time mom would let us add clutter to our otherwise midcentury minimalist design. Our primary choice of holiday clutter was always a tiny Christmas village. It was as though Whoville had escaped it’s tiny snowflake and grown like magic on our warm oak table.
We gathered a new house every year. The homes we deemed ‘nicest’ would take center stage. A glitter factory on ‘my side’ and the lego store on my brother’s. A church was always added in somewhere, along with the darling cafe and cabin style home. We’d surround the whole town in poly-fill, glitter and tiny figurines we found at the bottom of our Christmas bins.
The one thing our town was always missing was the ice skating rink.
Year after year we’d see those tiny figures gliding around the reflective acrylic pond and wish for it to join our tiny village. We made do with stacked snow hills, tiny sleds, and off kilter skiers instead, as the price tag on that miniature skating pond was more than our tiny village could spare.
When planning out my own decor I wanted a tiny village of my own.
It’s certainly more homemade than the original version, but with some flameless candles and greenery the town lights up just like our faces once did on Christmas morning.
To make your own village you’ll need a rolling pin, an exacto knife, a hot glue gun, oven bake clay and a baking sheet and oven to complete the whole thing. With memories as a template, I warmed the clay in my hands until it easily rolled into a flat piece. My house had walls that were close to 1/4″ thick, and I wouldn’t recommend going much thicker than that.
I traced the house shapes into each piece of clay, leaving each wall and roof piece to bake separately. Once I baked the foundation according to the packaging, I let it cool and got to work assembling my tiny uneven houses. I used a glue gun to put each piece together, and finished everything off with the tiny roofs.
Just like our fluffy sofa table village these house are nowhere near perfect.
They’re handmade and it shows. But that’s part of the natural charm that draws me to them.I threw the pair together on my dresser, added some flameless tea lights, a candle I’d made earlier, brush bottle trees and fresh eucalyptus leaves for a greener touch. The final village is just as magical as the one I remember waking up to on Christmas morning. And when the lights flicker as I fall asleep at night, it lets a few tiny visions of Christmas past dance through my head. Here’s to keeping the holiday magic alive no matter your age this year!