Monday, June 13, 2005

A Model Train Christmas Village

Few things say Christmastime like an electric model train set chugging its way slowly down a track that meanders around a Christmas tree and between the brightly wrapped gifts. Children of all ages enjoy the steady hum of the engine, the movement along the track, and the cars that follow faithfully along, usually trailed by a cheerful red caboose. A wonderful addition to a Christmas model train set is to add a Christmas village to adorn the train track. A Christmas village will bring to mind simpler times, days of old, and will add to the Christmas experience for the entire family. Following are some ideas about setting up a Christmas village for your model train set.

1. Be creative with your track design. Some train sets offer only an oval or round track option, but if possible, purchase more track so you can make a larger overall set up. The track should go around the tree, but it shouldn't be right under the tree; leave room for gifts and of course, the village. If you like, have it go under a chair and around the piano bench. If possible, it can travel all around the room.

2. Village buildings and accessories can be made of a variety of different things. Beautiful ceramic buildings complete with lights and even gardens are a lovely way to build your village. These may include a general store, a hotel, a church, a few small homes, and of course, a barn with a Nativity scene. Use cotton balls or fleece to spread snow throughout your Christmas village; after all, what is Christmastime without fluffy snow? Tiny Christmas trees, decorations and lights can be scattered throughout the town.

3. If there are small children in your home and you are concerned about breakables, you need not limit yourself to ceramic village buildings. Have the children join in the building of the village with Lego or Lincoln Log constructions. Houses made of toothpicks and popsicle sticks are also a fun addition to the town. Any type of building will do. The children may even want to paint the houses green and red, and add cotton balls all around for snow. The idea is to have fun and bring out the Christmas spirit.

4. For an extra-special Christmas train, carefully string tiny Christmas lights all along the edge of the train track. Make sure the train will not roll over any lights. This is an especially nice touch in the evenings when all the lights are off and the only light is from the tree, the village and the track.

5. If your model train is large enough or has open cars, decorate the cars with small wrapped gifts and sachets full of potpourri. The gifts will give the appearance of a Christmas train full of bustling travelers taking gifts to a variety of destinations. The potpourri will give off a Christmassy scent as the train travels around the track.

Enjoy your Christmas model train set up; you will find that it brings out the child in everyone, especially you!

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