Years ago, my brother-in-law and his wife gifted us a little ceramic Texaco station for Christmas. They gave us two more over the years, and since you can’t have a village composed solely of filling stations, I had to get more little houses. I added one or two little buildings each year until they outgrew my display space.
Here’s how I set up a very simple village display on a buffet in our living room. One tip for a nicer display is varying the heights on your houses. You can use anything underneath, but I use the foam packing boxes that the houses are stored in. They are white and sturdy. I have twelve buildings so I put six foam inserts on the back of the buffet.
Then I set all the houses in place on the buffet. They all have light bulbs that go inside so I have to get the bulbs and cords arranged. I put the houses on the floor in order, then lay out the cords on the buffet with bulbs in place. If you have at least five houses, I highly recommend a multi bulb string so you don’t have so many cords to plug in. I have two 5 bulb strings and use a 2 bulb string to get the last couple of houses. I fiddle around with this until it makes sense. Tip: check your bulbs to make sure they all work at this point. These generally take a 4 watt bulb. I use a power strip to light the village because I need at least three outlets and you can easily switch the whole village on and off. I store it with the village so there is no hunting it down every Christmas.
Christmas villages must sit on a blanket of snow (it helps hide the cords!), so I use a length of cotton batting. You can find these with the Christmas decorations or get some from the fabric or craft store. There are different thicknesses available. The one I have now is on the thin side but it works. I would love to create a Styrofoam village base at some point, but this is not the year for that project.
Once the cords and bulbs are in place, I drape the “snow” over them. At this point I used scissors to cut little slits so the bulbs will fit through them and carefully worked the bulbs through the “snow”.
Next I placed the houses in their spots, putting the light bulbs in the houses as I go. Some fit through the bottom and some go through the back.
Once they are in place, I add little goodies like figurines, trees, and firewood. I made a little pond from an old locker mirror with some cotton around the edges. The tiny “logs” are maple branches I cut up with pruners.
Here are a few close ups: