Death by Snow Villages

My first words of wisdom for 2018 are be careful what gifts you ooh and aah over because it could come back to bite you in the butt – big time.

Thirty long years ago I received a darling Snow Village from my mother-in-law as a Christmas present. For those of you blissfully unaware of the wonder of holiday tchotchkes a Snow Village is a brand of ceramics that depict winter scenes with yuletide flair. There’s train stations, diners, ice cream shops, ski lodges etc.

My first Snow Village was an old-fashioned movie theatre, dripping in snow with White Christmas on the marquee. I was delighted by the gift since I was newly married and had zero in the way of holiday decoration.

Now three decades in I’m buried in Snow Villages. My lovely mother-in-law has given me at least one Snow Village every year for Christmas and I think they maybe the death of me.

Alert readers may now be recalling how I wrote about pine garland trying to kill me in December of 2016, but that was operator error (me, a six-foot ladder and a hammer – what could go wrong?) The Snow Villages are out for blood and it has nothing to do with me being an idiot.

Let’s start with examining where the attempted murder took place – my basement. There you’ll find more than 60 Styrofoam boxes strewed on the floor. Each Snow Village is packed in a Styrofoam box designed to fit their unique structure. Putting the Snow Village back in its correct box is such a tight squeeze that the sound of gently cramming the village in its storage coffin creates a sound so shrill and nerve shattering that it makes fingernails on a chalkboard sound like Brahms Lullaby.

Now imagine hearing this sound 30 plus times. It feels like my brain is seizing. I even wear my lawn mower earmuffs and it’s still like my auditory canal is getting a beat down from a masonry drill. I’m sure in some CIA prisoner de-briefing room there’s an agent wearing NASA grade hearing protection repeatedly putting Snow Villages into their Styrofoam boxes in hopes of eliciting a confession.

Once I’ve cheated death and survived putting the Snow Villages back in their Styrofoam pods it’s time to move onto part two of the storage conundrum or as I like to call it murder by Christmas crates.

Due to the unique size of each Snow Village you can’t fit that many into those large red and green bins you get from Target. This means in Snow Village math that I need almost two dozen bins to house the villages. Then I must stack each of these large plastic units in the icky part of my basement that looks like’s an abandon concrete munitions storage bunker from WWII.

As I’m standing back and admiring my brute strength and majestic stacking ability that created four rows of bins that measure 5 crates high the whole monument to my organizational skills starts falling. First the top crate in the middle comes for me, like right at me, as if I was a bullseye in a carnival shooting gallery. Then they all start tumbling. It was an avalanche of plastic.

I start screaming, but in the deep sub terrain space of your basement no one can hear your cries for help. As I lay on the cold concrete floor covered in Christmas bins I think about crying and selling all the Snow Villages on Craig’s List. But then I bucked up.

These Snow Villages will not vanquish me. I got up, restacked the bins, albeit this time only four crates high, and told myself that perhaps next Christmas the villages would get a time out in the basement that would last the entire holiday or eternity.

13 thoughts on “Death by Snow Villages

  1. JanetB says:

    32 years ago I had my first Christmas with my new husband. So fun! Got our first hallmark ornament and we didn’t have squat otherwise. So carefree, so easy. In the early 90’s I got a snow village based off of “Sarah, plain and tall” from hallmark. Still, so easy, so fun to put that stuff out. Now, it’s all just kind of tough! So much stuff!! 3 girls adding things and too many storage tubs too. It took me a week plugging away to put all that away. Lifting the tubs to the back, then putting all the fall stuff in front so it’ll be available for next year. For the first time I was thinking —-when will be the year I don’t do all that? I’m getting older and a little weary of it. I LOVED when it was easy! Kinda ready to go back to that. I definitely can relate to your plight!

  2. Donnadon says:

    My mother used to give a village piece every year for Christmas plus I would buy a piece or two. My collection was huge. After mom died, I whittled my collection down to just a few pieces that I absolutely loved and sold the rest at a yard sale or gave them to Goodwill. For the last 5 plus years I have been slowly going thru the seasonal decorations and getting rid of. Each time I get rid of another piece I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. whew. The hardest thing to tackle will be all of the ornaments (Hallmark, European, handmade) that I have. I don’t have any children to pass them on to, nor do I have any nieces or nephews who would appreciate them. That’s a decision to be made later.

    • Rachel M. says:

      Morbid thought: after you pass away, crazy women will fight over your Christmas stuff when it all gets auctioned off. I will be among those crazy ladies.

  3. Bj says:

    After my kids grew and went out in to the world…I decided that ENOUGH! No more decorations! No Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas! My life has been so free. I enjoy the holidays without all the stress of decor. For me it works. Plus I haveso much extra space.

  4. Rachel M. says:

    I truly understand about those Styrofoam boxes not fitting neatly into the storage totes. Last year I bought a REALLY big tote to put them into. Problem: it was too heavy to lift when it was only half full. So I had to rearrange them again. And let’s not get started on how hard it was to get them all arranged and plugged in.

    • cspschofield says:

      I suppose one could get a foam-pac camera-type case or a dozen. That would also take care of the horrible squeak. And they would have handles, so schlepping them around would be easier. Expensive, though.

  5. Kira Flowerchild says:

    I love the IDEA of snow villages, but when I think about actually starting one, I sit down and have a talk with myself: “You didn’t even put up your tiny pre-lit four-foot Christmas tree this year. When you do actually put it up, often it takes you until February to take it down. Do you REALLY want to have 50 snow village houses plus street lights plus carolers and shoppers and pedestrians plus trolleys and who knows what else to put up and then take down a month or even three months later?” But then, I habitually take on ambitious projects only to give up mid-project. You’d think someone who will soon be eligible for Medicare would have gained a little wisdom over the years. My friends, let me tell you, sometimes we make the same mistakes in our sixties that we made in our twenties. That’s life.

  6. Kathy Eagan says:

    Heed the wise advice of the comments! If you do not have a Snow Village tchotchke do not get one. The Department 56 addiction is real! It is a sickness that is extremely difficult to recover from. As I was rummaging through my Christmas bins trying to decide which decor theme I would put out this year -Nutcrackers? Santa’s? Snowmen? Angels? Silver or gold? White lights or multi? Combo of all?- five hours into my rummaging I came across the Snow Village boxes. As I wiped a sentimental tear from eye from all of the Snow Village reminiscing and oohing and ahing, I had made my decision. The end result? I bought some more… is a sickness.

  7. texashomeschooler says:

    I have a Dickens village. I decided something so nice, so expensive should not be relegated to one season! My village lives in my china hutch and only gets kit up at Christmas! I (don’t gasp) threw away the boxes!

  8. floormodel says:

    the people who surround me ask me why I put up Christmas when the kids are grown and it’s so much work. I tell them it’s my sickness. Every year I say “last year” and every year it grows. But the jokes on them because I have one Daughter-in-law who hates it all but the other has already spoken for the collection. It will live on in all it’s glory.

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