Christmas Village



My mom was never one for holiday decorations. We had a tree, stockings, and outside two wreaths and a string of lights. I always wanted more. I wanted it to look like Christmas exploded. I wanted it to look like every holiday exploded. Didn’t happen. I vowed I would be different and that, for the most part, didn’t happen. It turns out holiday decorations are expensive and you have to store them when they aren’t is use! Just another one of the crushing truths you learn once you grow up.

When I put up decorations in the library, I wasn’t expecting the older kids to pay much attention, but they did. They immediately asked if there would be Christmas decorations and, most surprising of all, it was the 7th grade boys who were the most excited about the decorations. They wanted to put on the star, hang the ornaments, set up this and that. I was shocked. It changed my view on holiday decorations, at least a little.

I finally bought the Christmas Village I have always wanted, and I even spread out fake snow. No, even more embarrassing than that, I bought two kinds of fake snow (glittered and plain) and mixed them together because the glittered was too glittery and the plain didn’t have enough pizzazz. (!!) When I showed my little snow village to the family they just sort of looked at each other and blinked, smiled, and–were Mikey and Nico tall enough–probably would have pat my head. The Mister looked at me and said, “You bought dust?”

“It’s not dust; it’s fake snow.”

“But in a few weeks you have to dust the fake snow and throw it away.”

“No, I have it all planned out–”

“This I have to hear.”

“I’m going to sweep it into a container I marked Fake Snow. I’ll reuse it every year! You’ll see.”

It was $2, so I’ll probably just throw it away, but I refuse to admit defeat until it hits the trashcan.

In the spirit of things I never thought I would do, I’m making garlands! My friend’s family owns Patio World, and every holiday season they turn into Christmas World. Their prices really are better than large chain stores for a much better product, and you’re shopping local. But, if you’re making a garland for a K-8 library and want something super, super inexpensive, then you ask your friend Kelly to give you a garland making lesson in the parking of her store using only items from The Dollar Store. It was like wizardry. I had trouble tracking her hands because there was cheap garland and tinsel the width of dental floss flying. We’ll see how I do. I have this image of me looking like the Magician’s apprentice, covered in soot and holding a garland burnt to cinders. Then I sneeze and the garland crumbles to dust at my feet. An ornament rolls away, exit stage left.

Do you remember Dinosaur Mountain? They are alive and well! They come out every year, without fail. Dino Mountain–as it’s now called–has moved to the mantel since our three little trees gasped their final breath last year. I’m tempted, oh so very tempted, to add more dinosaurs to the mix.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. LauraC says

    Fun! I noticed those glittery dinos and they still look great! We got a tree Dec 1, and I’ve got *most* of our decorations up. I’ve always thought it was too early, but we’re having a Christmas dinner with some friends at our house Friday and I wanted all the decorating done. Now I’m actually relishing that it’s all done so early! Hmmm, might have started something here. As far as Christmas snow, many years ago a friend had an AMAZING display and her snow was so realistic. I asked her what she used, and it was baking soda! Works like a charm, and that is what I’ve always used since. The only negative I noticed was that they smelled like baking soda coming out of the box. But you certainly don’t smell it when they’re on display. (I love that you bought two packs to mix.)

  2. Phaedra says

    My house usually looks like Christmas exploded on it, but this year we’ve decided to hold off on the tree until the 14th/15th. Because I’m too lazy to get into all the Christmas boxes (speaking of storing all those decorations.. LOL) twice, we haven’t decorated the house yet either. Every year I tell myself that THIS year I’m going to just cut down to tree, stockings and something simple in the entryway and every year I end up looking like an ad for a Christmas store with sh*t everywhere. It doesn’t help that my child is now old enough to ‘help’ and instead of rotating décor and not using all of it, she wants it ALL out. Oh well.
    I can’t wait to see your work on the garland – totally laughing at the visual you provided! tee hee.
    As for that Christmas ‘snow’… I’m with the Mister on that one! 😉 Good luck keeping it neat & tidy.

  3. says

    My mom decorated in detail for every major holiday, and I have followed suit. Except I now have a bigger house than the ones I grew up in, so = much more stuff. Luckily it’s very well organized and lives in the garage for 11/12th’s of the year. But it’s a lot!

    Love your train ’round the Christmas tree, and being the crazy Christmas village lady I am, I applaud the village! You’re brave to tackle that snow dust though — I just lay down the white felt that comes in rolls. I tried it last year on the rooftops and swore never again….

    My village is the only decor up right now– better log off and get to work!

  4. says

    I have the decor-exploding house, too. My stepmother outdoes me for Christmas, but every other holiday I outdo HER. So it evens out. One year, someday, I’m going to have a real tree with popcorn and cranberry garlands and real candles. That will be my ultimate Christmas.

  5. Sarah says

    I Love your dinosaurs. That is a brilliant! Glad you got your Christmas village and some snow. My five year old would probably have the dinosaurs attacking the Christmas village. But, that is part of the fun of being a five year old boy.

  6. Susan G says

    I just love this post – it’s so you. Whimsical, practical, funny, a touch sarcastic, visual (love the dissolving garland image) – thank you! And belated Happy Birthday to you as well.

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