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Villages and Nativity Scenes

  • Village Display Techniques


    Adding a Christmas village display to your home for the holidays isn't just simply placing the items on a table, it's a way of showing your creative and personal touch. Ranging in sizes, putting up a Christmas village requires imagination, planning, thoughtful selection, and a basic understanding of style concepts. If you put the time, effort, and thought into your Christmas village, you will see how eye-catching your village really is.

    It's no secret that every year new Christmas village collections are created. This gives you the opportunity to continue to create that fine Christmas village year after year by adding new items and pieces.

    Almost like the Christmas tree, you want to find a spot in your house where all of your guests will be able to see your Christmas village. Limited space should not limit your aspirations to create an attractive display. We recommend considering these locations:

    • In a wreath
    • On a mantel
    • In a bookcase
    • In a bay window
    • Up a staircase
    • On top of the piano
    • Inside a roll-top desk
    • As a centerpiece in the dining room
    • Under the Christmas tree

    The majority of Christmas villages will have some items that will need to be plugged in. With that said, make sure you are close to an outlet so you don't run into any problems after you begin decorating. You may also need a multiple outlet extension cord.


    Consider making a layout of how you want your Christmas village to look beforehand. This will not only allow you to figure out how you want things laid out but will save you time too. Our experts love the idea of putting together a little town square, using a miniature tree as a village centerpiece, and plan your village around it. This will give the true impression of a Christmas village.

    Christmas Village

    Now's the time to look at the main features of your Christmas village, which are most likely buildings. Take a look at the details of your village buildings. Some have sides, porches, or doorways that you may want to feature. Choose the best way you want to showcase the designs and aspects of these buildings whether that's placing them in a straight row, diagonally or other ways.

    Once you have the buildings laid out, place them on paper or poster board and trace the outline of them, not using a permanent marker. Label each outline with the name of the corresponding village piece. Make sure you keep in mind where the other pieces will be going including the mountains, ponds, roadways, and others.

    The Base

    When it comes to creating the base of your Christmas village, you can keep it all on the same level or stagger it using boxes. If you would like to stagger the height of buildings, use small boxes to act as stands for the pieces you want on different levels. The appearance of these boxes will not matter, as they will not be visible once the setup is finished. If you want to add another creative touch for elevations, try placing a lower table in front of the first.

    When it comes to covering the boxes and tables, we recommend using a single white cloth. This covers the boxes and creates a single, staggered surface. A little tip from our experts is to place a clear strand of lights under the cloth for that decorative and sparkling touch. (Scroll down for detailed instructions on creating a base).


    The backdrop for your Christmas village will create that true "finished" look. While the designs are endless, ranging from cloud-filled skies to mountain ranges, any wintry scene will complete the look of your Christmas village. If your village feels small, placing a mirror behind it can make the scene appear bigger.

    The Buildings

    Once you've finished your base and backdrop, it's time to add your buildings. When placing them in your village, avoid putting them too close together for display purposes. For buildings with plug-in lights, use cotton or the base cloth to cover up the cords.


    A Christmas village isn't just buildings, it's filled with beautiful people, snowman, and other pieces. A mixture of trees can add ambiance and a sense of realism to any display. Capture that sense of privacy and beauty with fences around each home and building. With plenty of buildings and different architecture to work around, use these accessory pieces to really make your village stand out!

    Adding that charming and decorative touch to a Christmas village becomes even easier when you use roads, paths, and walkways. If you choose to do this, make sure you find the right materials that will add that interesting texture or color. Our experts found that straw can be great around farm buildings while little stones work well for quaint country roads.

    For a finishing touch, think about using spray-on snow on the branches of the tree, or placing handfuls of cotton around the base, for a feeling of deep snow. Adding artificial or fake snow to your village can be the perfect finishing touch creating that winter wonderland look throughout your village. You can also hang tiny snowflakes from the ceiling above the village, or cover the wall behind the village with them.

  • Creating a Base

    Sheets of Styrofoam® can make an excellent village base. Below is a guide for creating a basic village base.

    Materials for Large Village Base (4 ft x 8 ft):

    • Styrofoam sheets
    • Plywood
    • Wallboard saw/electric foam cutter/sharp utility knife
    • Wire brush


    1. Start with 8 sheets 4 ft x 8 ft white Styrofoam. 6 of the sheets should be 2" thick, one sheet 1 1⁄2" thick, and 1 sheet 3⁄4" thick.
    2. Stack 2 of the 2" Styrofoam sheets on top of plywood.
    3. Cut a 6" x 14" rectangle in both layers to create a 4" cavity.
    4. Use 2 3-Prong power strips in cavity. Plug AC/DC and Adapters into the power strips.
    5. With a hot wire or sharp utility knife, cut a variety of levels with the rest of the Styrofoam to create elevations.
    6. Wooden skewers are ideal to keep levels in place.
    7. Place houses as desired and light with six or twenty socket light sets.
    8. Place accessories and landscaping to complete the display.

    Making a Small or Medium Base

    1. Cut a free form or traced piece of white Styrofoam to fit a specific area such as the top of a hutch or sofa table, a wall or table fixture, or a basket or tray for centerpieces.
    2. Cut a cavity to hide electrical cords or tuck them under foam.
    3. With a hot wire or sharp utility knife, cut a variety of levels with the rest of the Styrofoam to create elevations.
    4. Use wooden skewers to keep levels in place.
    5. Place houses as desired and light with six socket light sets.
    6. Use accessories and landscaping to complete the display.
  • Setting Up a Nativity Scene

    Most nativity scenes are set in a traditional arrangement, therefore there is a simple procedure in order to set one up in the proper fashion. No matter the style or scale, it is likely that there are some universal themes, so check for these first when planning your decoration.

    First, find a suitable table with ample space on it for your desired scene. Then place your table somewhere where there will be a minimal chance of it being disturbed or bumped into.

    The center figure of the nativity set is, of course, the baby Jesus. Some traditions suggest leaving the manger crib empty until Christmas; this is a personal choice. In either case, this figure must be in the center. Mary will be the closest figure to baby Jesus, looking down at the manger. Joseph is typically placed in the center as well, though many put him further away, depending on if the figure is looking down or not.

    After the main family has been placed, it is a matter of slowly expanding backwards and outwards. Usually no other human figures are placed in the stable itself. The shepherd figures are the next closest, with the wise men placed just beyond them. Any angels or animals can be liberally scattered around the scene where needed, though often you will see sheep near the shepherds and camels with the wise men.

    Some sets come with a specific angel figure that is meant to be hung. It is usually hung from the top of the stable, to hover over the entire setting.

    And with that, your scene is fully and properly set up. If you have children, consider letting them help set up the scene as part of a story, adding characters are they are mentioned, perhaps starting a lovely new Christmas tradition.