The display of lighted Christmas villages in many homes likely began in the 13th century with nativity scenes, according to Family Christmas Online. The Christmas village displays changed over the centuries, from the 18th century German-American putzes to large and often massive displays in the early 1900s and 20th century glitterhouses. The 1970s saw a revival of the Christmas village with the manufacture of small ceramic houses. These smaller villages are more manageable and can be displayed on any surface, large or small. Many families give the villages a prominent place in holiday decorations.
A fireplace mantel is a prominent place for your small Christmas village. Create an interesting landscape by using items to elevate a few buildings or create a snow-covered hill. Place some village pieces in the foreground and some in the back, and spread the lighted pieces evenly throughout the display.
Display your village so visitors and neighbors can enjoy your creation. Set up the village to be viewed from outside the house, or arrange the village to be viewed from several angles, including inside the house. Create a more complex terrain, and use extra lighting to highlight parts of the village. A garden window will work just as well and provides ready-made terracing.
Fireplace and Hearth
Set up your Christmas village in an unused fireplace, and let the village to spread onto the hearth. As with any display location, you can create elevated areas, hills and even hang the moon and stars above the village. The hearth provides a perfect place to add a frozen lake or extra townspeople. The fireplace won’t be available for a fire, but the lighted village will provide a warm and festive holiday addition.
Add your Christmas village to the buffet for a holiday dinner. Use a table large enough to hold the food dishes and the village pieces. Add interesting items throughout the display to catch guests' attention. The lighted village will create a memorable display for your guests.
Under the Christmas Tree
Many families place their Christmas villages under the Christmas tree, although the village leaves no room for gifts. Like the mantel display, you can achieve an interesting look by elevating some pieces and places in the background. Under the tree, you have more room to create variations in the landscape and to lay out a larger village. Choose Christmas tree lights in colors that do not clash with the lighted village.
Community Christmas Village Display
Decorate a church, public library or community center by setting up a Christmas village on a large table. Ask the community, including youth groups and families, to participate by adding pieces to the village during the month before Christmas. Choose a day for everyone to see the finished product.
Add an electric train to your Christmas village under the Christmas tree. Shop craft stores for items to use as snow, trees, people and animals.