By Pat Maurer
Not so for Cecile Sparta and her family and friends. She has a miniature North Pole Village right in her sunroom at her Farwell home and visits it regularly.
“I love just sitting in the room and looking at it,” she said. “Especially at night with all of the lights on.” Each building is lighted and so are some of the Christmas trees around the buildings.
No wonder. Along three walls of the room are 71 tiny houses and businesses along with all the accessories for a magical depiction of Santa’s home town, complete with many, many elves, reindeer and of course lots of Santa and Mrs. Claus figures. “That’s all there is in the village,” Cecile said. “No people, just figurines of Santa, Mrs. Claus and lots of elves.”
Many of the pieces were gifts and many she purchased herself over the past 23 years.
There’s a “Spa Series” complete with the Egg Nogg Café, Caribou Coffee Shop, Tilly’s Tiny Cup Café and the Reindeer Spa.
There’s the Elf Mountain Ski Lodge, a movie theatre, wood shop, even the K-O-L-D Radio Station and the North Pole Snow Bank -complete with tiny piles of money visible in the bank windows. Looking in some of those other little windows might give you a glimpse of tiny poinsettia plants in Mrs. Claus’s Greenhouse and the elves might have a little more recreation time away from their toymaking in their very own dance hall, or at the race track where two little elf cars chase each other around and around.
Many other parts of the village also move. There is a flying reindeer, the race track, tiny skaters on the pond, the North Pole Maintenance road cleaning crew, more elves ‘loading’ the sleigh and even Santa’s Sleigh Launch.
One special piece of the display is the Toots Model Train Manufacturing Company complete with a tiny rotating train display. “It is the 25th anniversary piece for Department 56,” Cecile said.
All of the hundreds of pieces on display are part of the North Pole series by Department 56.
The village, snow covered of course, sits on a Styrofoam base that is sculpted along the edges and was wire brushed for a natural “snow” look. And the entire display is covered with even more snow, while many pine trees of all sizes frame the scene.
Overlooking the village, which includes roads, paths, hills, and the ski slope, is Santa’s home which adorns one corner of the room while the ski hill takes up the other.
Cecile started collecting with a birthday present in 1990 – a single building, Santa’s Workshop. Over the next ten years, she added all of the buildings, pieces and accessories made for the collection – every single piece.
All 50 buildings and the pieces that were collected in those first ten years have been “retired” she said and can now only be found at trade shows if at all.
Since 2000 she has added another 21 houses, many smaller pieces, and now she even has the “sounds of the village” on CD. “There are people saying ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,’ the sound of sleigh bells and reindeer hooves prancing, train whistles and more,” she said. “They are the real sounds of a village at Christmas time.”
Part of the display in the sunroom is a seven-piece display of little shops that includes a bakery and post office. Each shop has individual letters on each piece that spell out the words N-O-R-T-H P-O-L-E.
Another five-piece display on a table in the living room is a very limited one with gold tops, or steeples and that set spells S-A-NT-A.
It takes nearly three days with family help, just to set the village up each year, Cecile said. The village stays on display until February. Then it is taken down and stored in cupboards specially built by her husband Bernie, until
the season rolls around once again.
“I would like to add a couple more pieces,” she said, later saying that after Christmas she might just look for “five more” but adding, “I’m just not sure where I will find room to