Home Sweet Home
My earliest memories of Christmas Villages come from under my parent’s Christmas tree in Illinois. My mom had a couple of houses, a little mirror ‘lake’, and some people - all surrounded by the requisite ‘snow’. Ever the little girl who loved dolls, I really wanted to play with the village. But sadly, since it was all ceramic and very old, the answer was always no.
We never traveled for Christmas, even though the majority of my aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents lived in Florida. However, as a college student, I started to fly down to Florida in January each year. My grandma, Mimi, would leave up her Christmas decorations until after my visit so that I could enjoy them - my favorite of her decorations being her massive, three tiered, Christmas Village. She had this huge fireplace, and would put a layer of houses on the mantle, another on the hearth, and the third layer on the floor in front of the hearth. She’d have snow hills, every house lit, and little villagers everywhere.
Years later, once Mike and I were married, and we had our own house, I started my own Christmas village collection. Each year, a family member would gift me another house for the village - and slowly my little village grew. It was 3 houses strong when Mimi suddenly passed away in 2015.
Since Grandpa had passed away several years earlier, my mom went down to Florida to pack-up their house. I always knew I wanted Mimi’s village someday, so I agreed to give 22 of the 23 houses a home (my sister asked for one house). Bless my mother, she shipped every single house back to Illinois. And bless Mike, for never raising an eyebrow as my every growing village continues to sprawl throughout the living room each Christmas season (my son Luke keeps up the tradition of gifting me a new house each Christmas). Not a Christmas goes by where I don’t tear up a little bit putting up the village. It’s bittersweet: Mimi would be over the moon seeing the village so loved in its new home, but she never could see it, because if she were alive, it would still be in Florida.
For the past two years, I’ve been letting Luke take a portion of the more sturdier houses, and the majority of the villagers, to make his own Christmas village with - and I let him play with them (Mike assumes the role of surgeon after Christmas each year, and repairs all of the injured villagers before we re-pack them for the season).
A new tradition is born
Ever since we fired up our current laser-engraver, and we saw what it was capable of - the idea of a laser-engraved Christmas village has been floating around in my head. For the past few years, it hasn’t been the right time to put together such a piece. I came close in 2018, but got stuck trying to figure out the base.
Everything aligned this year: the popularity of our Neighborhood artwork, having Kathy on-board (she happens to have the tools and know-how necessary to make the bases), and our 2019 focus on playing around with new pieces and ideas. I ‘winterized’ the Neighborhood artwork, adding wreaths, snowmen, and even a few parking-spot-holding-lawn-chairs.
As soon as I released a photo of the prototypes on our social media accounts, I immediately started getting questions about whether we’d be open to doing custom houses. Thankfully, that was something that Kathy and I had already planned for (we’ve been doing custom house address stamps for a few months now) - so the answer is a resounding yes!
You’ll have the ability to purchase the villages/houses a few different ways: as a 4-5 piece set on a single base (we have City Houses, Near-Suburbs houses, and Suburban Houses), as individual houses on individual bases, as a set with a custom house inserted into one of the existing sets, as an individual custom house, and finally as a set of custom houses (so, for example, you could have each of your previous homes, or all of your grown children’s homes).
Oh, and the best part of our villages? They store flat!
Thanks for indulging me in a little of the behind-the-scenes of the why and the what that is East Grove’s Christmas Village. I hope that it becomes a part of your family’s Christmas traditions, a modern-day heirloom of sorts.
A little more information on our Custom Houses
While you can outright purchase the Christmas Villages and individual houses on our website, we’ve got an order form set up for the custom houses. The reason being, that once the drawing of your house has been purchased (we have a one-time, $30 custom drawing fee per house drawing), it can be applied to a number of pieces: several address stamp designs, ornaments, magnets, and the aforementioned village houses.
While we originally assumed that folks might want one of each of a few pieces with their house on it, we’ve since been hearing over and over that folks might be wanting to purchase more than one of any given product as family gifts. For example, my sister suggested having Mimi’s old house made into a village house and having a few made for various family members. With the order form, it’s easy to order multiples of a variety of pieces, all under the same single, $30 custom drawing fee.
After you submit the order form, we’ll send you an email response asking for photos, and we’ll include an invoice for what you selected on your order form.