Around 28 years ago I was introduced into a world that I had not really seen before.
Craig fondly refers to it as “a big mistake”. He’s just kidding. I think.
After our Thanksgiving meal we would go and visit the The Christmas Barn.
My first trip there can only be described as a kid in a candy store. I did not know where to look first.
There was one long room with rows of trees decorated in various themes, with the corresponding baskets of available decorations for purchase. Different types and colors of lights were displayed to choose from, along with multiple tree toppers, garlands and other tree delicacies.
The pic-DE-la-restance was when I wandered into the room that held a tree elevated on a table with a miniature village snuggled under the branches, while a miniature train moved back and forth along a track. Little lights peeked out from tiny windows. Trees glistened with what only could be described as a magical snow, and a church with a stained glass window was perched on a hill while a farm nestled in a valley below.
I believe that year for Christmas Craig gave me my first Department 56 piece, the sleigh and reindeer.
For awhile I collected other less expensive village pieces, but they were never quite the same, in size or quality. I would think about the ‘real village’ I first saw. We moved to SC and found a shop that was opened for a while that had a full display of the Snow Village Department 56 series I had first grown in love with along with, wait for it…….other village series! Oh boy, oh boy! (Did I just hear a groan?)
So, for quite a few years when the kids were younger we would go to Peddlers Porch before Christmas, I’d wander around the store and show Craig and the boys the different Snow Village pieces I liked and then they would surprise me for Christmas and/or my birthday (yeah, my birthday is right before Christmas) out of the things I liked. Usually, I would visit the shop before hand so I had a pretty good idea what I liked, however, they were still quite patient with me while I looked, because I still had to give it another quick check….just in case. It was always still a surprise seeing which they selected.
While Craig finalized ‘the purchase’, the boys and I would select an Old World Ornament together for the tree. (I know what you’re thinking, another collection, and yes, you are correct) I miss doing that with them.
When I started collecting the North Pole series, Tyna, Rick and the kids selected pieces for that, along with Craig’s Mom. At Christmas I’d open packages from PA and I could imagine them picking out the respective pieces out of the display available. I hope they received as much joy selecting them as I did receiving them.
Over the years my collection has grown to the point that there isn’t any more room on the mantle or the side tables.
I stopped collecting soon after the shop closed. That has been quite a few years ago.
I don’t know if Craig was glad or not when the shop closed. I mean I certainly don’t need anymore pieces, but it did make shopping easier for them. 🙂
I’ll soon be getting out all those boxes. I know that they are ‘just things’. I know that they are not necessary, however, when I look at them I remember the love that came with each piece. If it was a gift, I remember who gave it to me. If it was one picked out, there was usually a reason why, and I remember.
When they are all up and the lights are twinkling, I remember all those memories….and I see that tree again.
I catch Craig checking out the houses when they are all up. He will even prompt me when I am late getting around to it, “Aren’t you going to put your houses?” he will ask.
I think he has his memories too. Some “mistakes” have a way of warming the heart. 🙂