When you think of Christmas village, you cannot but help thinking about the most famous brand that creates them – Department 56.
Have you ever wondered just why it is that Department 56 is the name that comes to everyone’s minds when you think about Christmas houses and sets.
How Department 56 village houses came to be
It was back in 1976 that Department 56 came into being as a part of Bachman’s, a florist in Minneapolis. The story behind the brand is that the company Bachman’s gave numbers to all of its departments and Department 56 was where the first Christmas houses were created.
The other background story about Department 56 is that it all started when one Christmas evening, some friends went to a small country town to enjoy Christmas dinner. When they saw how quaint and beautiful the little village town looked, they all became nostalgic and talked about the beauty of the tiny town and how it evoked wonderful Christmas feelings.
As they talked, the idea of a Christmas village with lights was born. The company Department 56 introduced their first few hand-painted ceramic buildings in 1976.
Since then, these Christmas houses have become a part of households across the United States, and the world, during Christmas. Today, Department 56, which is headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is a leader in the holiday decorating industry and world famous for hand-crafted lighted Christmas villages and houses.
The Department 56 Snow Village
They have been around for over forty years, and they have grown and become more and more beautiful and interesting, over the years. It has an amazing array of pieces ranging from houses like the ‘Griswold Holiday House’ to individual figures, reindeer and much more.
Those who collect Department 56 houses and villages, are so into it, that they have immense collections with hundreds of villages and thousands of individual pieces. Here is an enthusiast Anna, from Chicago.
Since the houses and villages are introduced every year and then many are retired, they all become collector’s items. Those who buy and collect Department 56 houses, do it because of their love of the little details that makes everyone’s villages unique. There is also a great joy in making each village different and use new tips and tricks to bring alive the villages in different ways.
The Department 56 Dickens Village
An entire range of houses and villages were created with Charles Dickens novels as the inspiration. They range from Ebenezer Scrooge’s House to Duniway Abbey, Fullarton Station to Hampton Court Palace, and so much more.
This collection is a very popular Victorian England-themed collection, that has achieved iconic status. It started with just seven shops and a church, and today the older retired pieces are collector’s items that sell for thousands of dollars.
With an uncountable number of houses, pieces, and a growing number of collections of themed villages including one for a Christmas Story, Department 56, is truly an amazing Christmas tradition that makes our homes more and more beautiful and wondrous every year.