Saturday, March 30, 2024


This page has proven very popular. Already,

more photos are arriving. THANK YOU ALL.


The Original Story

Seems that some people assume villaging is a

recent phenomenon. And, many believe it began

with the popularity of Department 56 in the 80s.


But, let's take a look back aways.

In the 15th century London, it was the custom for parish

churches and all houses to be "decked with holm, holly,

ivy, and any greenery, as protection against pagans and

witches" (and how's that working). And as small versions

were given to children, the fun of "villaging" was born.

Seems there weren't any Christmas Shoppes back then.

"After Christmas Sales" were non-existent, and I'm sure that

"Black Friday" had a different meaning.

The first commercially available paper and/or wood

houses are believed to date back to the mid 1800s

in Germany. The Christmas customs grew and spread

rapidly throughout Europe. Once the British Royal

Family adopted the use of "Christmas Buildings" as

decorations, the concept became an affordable way

to "decorate as the Royals".

In the 1870s, the flood of Europeans immigrating

to the United States brought their traditional

decorating ideas with them. And, the rest, as they

say . . .  is villaging history. Thankfully, photography

was available then, and some of the photos actually

survived. So, here's a TVC look at villaging in the

last century. Be ready to be amazed!

Here's the oldest photo I could find . . . 1900!

As you can see, villages were mostly under the

Christmas Trees.


Next is 1902.


Here's a shot of the first "villaging convention"

The Toy Show at Madison Square Garden in 1908.

In the foreground is the Junior Aero Club display.

Several shadowy blurs can be seen, in this time

exposure, moving about what at first glance

appear to be a deserted exhibit space. Yes,

villagers couldn't stand still, even then.


Moving on to 1915. OK, not much of a village, but I

liked this picture from over a hundred years ago.


And now 1916. I can only see one house, but these

old memories are so rare that it was enough for me.


1918, World War One was over and it was Christmas!


1919 and Villaging was in full bloom. I couldn't

believe this shot when I found it. The detail is

amazing. Plus, you have to imagine the work

involved just to get this shot. Remember, there

were no iPhones then. This is one proud villager!!!

Another from 1919.


1920 here and things are starting to change.


Another from 1920.


Now we're up to 1921.

1922 - not much village, but the components were there.


Here's a neat example from 1923.


This was Christmas in 1927.


One of the better photos I found was this 1928

village, followed by a close up of the village. So

cool! It even had electric street lights. WOW!

And to close the 20s, here's 1929.


Moving on to after World War Two,

here's a glimpse of a 1948 village.


This 1950 photo was labeled "Grandpa's Tree"

I'm sure the family loved coming over to see it.


How about 1952. Familiar style villaging for all.


And 1992 brings us up to current styles.

Have things really changed that much?

And now - I've saved the best for last! For

over a year I've been looking for old photos

and in the hundreds I've seen, this one truly

blew my mind the most. Long time visitors to

TVC might remember it. I've posted it before.

This truly takes villaging to a new level. Keep

in mind this village display was built in 1920.

Try to imagine the work that went into

this totally awesome village.


Check out the detail. Even wires on the telephone/power poles.

If you have, or find, any village photos from

before 1970please send them to be included.

And in the meantime, we wish you a

Merry Christmas and hope you . . .

tell your friends.

A Bonus Picture: You're never too old to have fun.

Copy, Print & Color