Our Celebration Continues – 40th Anniversary Gazebos

At Department 56, we delight in the holiday spirit and this year is extra special as we celebrate 40 years of creativity and spirited tradition. Our Anniversary collection includes three gazebos that were designed to tell a story and made to share. Our artists, that you will hear from in our Anniversary video, speak to the meticulous attention to detail they gave to each gazebo and sharing how they envision the recipient of such a gift this holiday season. This is a special time of year and our Anniversary pieces create the perfect holiday tradition. So be inspired and get a head start on your holiday shopping with our Anniversary Collection. Shop the Village Anniversary Collection >

Scott Enter, Snow Village designer, explains

“There is a young couple in the gazebo celebrating, which was the idea behind the piece but we also wanted it to be a piece that could be used for a gift idea for young couples who are celebrating their first Christmas together as something they could use to start their new tradition and their new lives together.” Shop the Village Anniversary Collection >

Snow Village Gazebo Art

Lynn Maderich, Dickens Village designer, shares her inspiration

“It’s a beautiful building structure and what you see is a couple gazing at each other and toasting. This can carry well beyond Christmas. The fact that it’s a couple, Charles and Catherine Dickens, I can see this as a housewarming gift, wedding present, or something to celebrate an anniversary.” Shop the Village Anniversary Collection >

Dickens Gazebo Artwork

Speaking to Tom Bates, North Pole designer

“Mr. and Mrs. Claus are the center of attention which I think is perfect. The Gazebo design with the pinecone top, weathervane pointing north and the upper part with the swirly shapes that you see are like little decorative trees. Candy canes at the entrance help bring in the special North Pole details. It’s something that would be perfect for anybody and a perfect first piece. It’s something that no matter what it’s Christmas, it’s Christmas to everybody and that’s where those memories begin.” Shop the Village Anniversary Collection >

North Pole Gazebo Artwork

Part of what makes these pieces so special is that they are limited to 2016 year of production and will be retiring. This means, the molds used to make these special pieces will be broken. Once they’ve sold through they are gone forever! Continue your Village tradition or bring warmth to someone’s home by giving one of our 40th Anniversary Villages as a unique and treasured holiday gift. Shop the Village Anniversary Collection >

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Village Display Tips from Stephen Pepin

Stephen Pepin was in Department 56 headquarters recently to refresh, restyle, and infuse creativity to the showroom Village displays. Before formally starting to commission work for village displays in 2002, he began with a love for building model trains.

Stephen ShowroomWhat inspires him?

“The ability to create your own world with the pieces and scenes you arrange. Shelly’s Diner is my favorite Village piece because although the outside lighting is enticing, the scene inside of the diner adds an extra special touch. You truly feel like you’re observing a scene from the outside.”

56.55008We asked Stephen to share with us some tips based off of the most common questions. Stephen regularly provides the following 8 most helpful Village display creation guidelines:

1.) Using carving tools from The Hot Wire Foam Factory can create the smoother texture on the edges and makes cutting foam simple. They make a variety of blades and wires so that no piece of foam is too large or small to carve!

2.) Liquitex Spray Paint will be priceless in helping to create lifelike scenes with foam or other materials. Unlike most spray paints, Liquitex is water based meaning that there are not nearly as many chemicals to eat away at the foam. Bonus: it does not smell as potent as regular spray paints either.

IMG_21183.) Staying organized is extremely important! The Village pieces in your display will likely have different cords and adapters its essential to make sure you keep each cord or adapter with the proper piece. Organization will also make it easier when you’re arranging or rearranging your pieces.

4.) Rather than anchoring down your components right away, play around with position and find a place where they look best. Your initial spot may not be ideal. Moving the around will make it easier to decide where the optimal place to hide the cords would be as well.

5.) Take your time! There’s no need to rush, and an exciting village display is worth the effort. If you’re feeling stuck take a break by finding inspiration in nature, your surroundings, or checking out Department 56 on Youtube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

6.) Department 56 sells both moss and snow, which are perfect for adding to the display. For a more natural look use Woodland Scenics “blended turf”. The color and texture perfectly mimic grassy earth tones.


7.) Don’t ignore the smaller accessory pieces. Although the houses are important and the bulk of the display, the smaller accessory pieces like fencing, trees, street lights, or benches supplement the feeling of being transported into a different world.

8.) Don’t forget to have fun!


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