Department 56 Christmas Villages

Collecting Department 56 Christmas Villages

Christmas in the city village sceneDepartment 56 has become an American success story by manufacturing lighted Christmas villages. The buildings and accessories are so popular, that during the Christmas season, it is hard to find anyone who does not have one or two pieces on display. Department 56 Christmas villages are a wonderful addition to any home's holiday decorations, and excellent gifts too.

Dickens Village, North Pole Village, Alpine Village, Christmas in the City, New England Village, all became hit collectibles as soon as they where released.
The following information and photos should help you identify and tell the different Department 56 Christmas villages apart.

This is the original Department 56 Christmas village that was first brought out in 1976. Imagine snow covered trees and Christmas decorated homes. Now add genuinely friendly residents and warm inviting buildings and shops, like grocery stores, bakeries and butcher shops displaying lots Christmas gifts and edible delights. The Original Snow Village depicts small town USA during the holiday season.


The Dickens Village series from Department 56 is all about Victorian England. First brought out in 1984, the distinctively styled old English homes and buildings remind us of a much simpler time. From the thatched roofed cottages to the village pub we are reminded of Dickens' immortal Christmas Carol classic. Now add, carts, wagons, street peddlers, lamp posts and villagers with children and the image is complete.


Inspired by the magic of Christmas, Department 56's North Pole village was first introduced in 1990. This is definitely a fun filled place of whimsy and joy, where Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and the elves all work and play on a year round basis, to complete the toys and gifts for that one night's fantastic ride. Every shop in this village is designed to portray Santa's North Pole home down to the last detail.


Welcome to the European Alps. In 1984 Department 56 introduced us to the snow covered hamlets of Old world Bavaria. Here you will find Swiss chalets, beer houses, gingerbread cottages, Cuckoo clock shops, rustic hunting lodges, village inns, and charming alpine establishments. The towns are populated with alpenhorn players, brewmiesters, goat herders, and polka dancing villagers celebrating Octoberfest.


In 1987 we were first introduced to the Christmas in the City Department 56 collection. This delightful series depicts Christmas time in Big City America, circa 1930s and 40s. There are familiar landmarks like the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, and St. Paul's Cathedral. It also has apartment buildings, department stores, restaurants, theaters, and fire stations. Accessories include such things as vintage motorcars, street vendors, families out for a stroll and children playing in the park.


New England is special, and Department 56 knew this when they introduced us to this Christmas village collection in 1986. It is a very unique series, which celebrates the rich holiday history and charming communities of northeastern America at the turn of the century. There are cottages, mills, taverns, fishing shacks, bait shops, farmhouses, churches and villagers going about their daily business.

Because Department 56 is constantly introducing new buildings and accessories, as well as retiring older designs, many items in the different Christmas villages have become hard to find and quite desirable by an emerging collector market. This in turn has driven up the prices on many of the older retired pieces. Add to that, the fact that many of those older village items are now truly rare, and you can see why collecting vintage Department 56 Christmas villages has become a smart collectible investment area.

The internet is one of the largest and most active of all places that you can find to buy new and used or retired Department 56 Christmas villages. As is true of all collectibles the "law of supply and demand" controls prices, and Dept. 56 Christmas village collectibles are no exception. Some of the more common items, can readily be found in used condition for under their original issue price, while the harder to find collectible buildings have been known to command prices in the many hundreds of dollars in excellent condition.

To locate new or used Department 56 Christmas villages, follow this link to current internet offerings.

Happy Holidays!

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