NORTH BEND — In Jane Darlington’s Christmas snow village, the possibilities are endless. The comforting and inviting village has something for everyone and with dozens of tiny figurines and beatifically crafted model homes and shops it’s hard to not stop and wonder.
For over 30 years, Darlington’s collected a variety of pieces, all of which come from Department 56, an online gift shop that specializes in hand-crafted villages and one-of-kind collectible items, to create Christmas-themed displays right in her home in North Bend.
“I love watching people’s expressions when they first see it,” said Darlington. “It just makes you feel good and happy and each time you look it at you can see something new.”
Darlington, a hairdresser, said it’s the generosity of her sons, friends and clients that have kept her snow village going, as the majority of her pieces were gifted to her throughout the years.
The first village she created included four pieces she purchased back in the 1970s, which included a Victorian-style home, a church, a warming house and an auto service shop. She featured the tiny village on a small sofa table and was immediately filled with joy. The rest is history.
Jane Darlington talks about her Christmas snow village with her grandson, Brody, in the living room of her North Bend home on Dec. 21.
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Since then, the displays have grown significantly in size as well as the memories and stories attached to each piece. Currently, Darlington has over 50 homes in her village, each of which is lit up and attached to an electrical system she put together.
This year’s village took her about three days to build as she created multiple layers of shelving, incorporated landscape scenery throughout as well as attached motorized elements and lighting to help bring the village to life.
A large sculpture of Santa’s sleigh sits overlooking the village as the newest piece of the collection. According to Darlington, Santa makes a quick pit stop to the village’s shopping center to pick up some last-minute gifts before heading over the homes on the other side of the display.
Darlington’s 8-year-old grandson Brody also took part in this year’s display. He created his own mini-village off to the side of the display, which featured a couple of motorcycles and folks outside their homes.
Jane Darlington places a bench into a scene in the Christmas snow village displayed in the living room of her North Bend home.
Just like she did with her sons growing up, Darlington said she hopes her boys continue the Christmas tradition of creating their own snow villages and sharing their displays with their loved ones.
“I love Christmas,” said Darlington. “It’s really the best time of the year and I’m happy I get to share my snow village and what I love with others.”