The Nightmare Before Christmas

 

The movie “Nightmare Before Christmas” first released in 1993 has, over the years, acquired a huge cult following of fans of both Halloween and Christmas. Creator Tim Burton, a Burbank, California native expressed that “anytime there was Christmas or Halloween, it was great. It gave you some sort of texture all of a sudden that wasn’t there before.” It never left him.

There was always a thought in the back of his mind to expand on the dual theme.

1982 Burton, who was then-employed at Walt Disney Feature Animation, wrote a three-page poem entitled The Nightmare Before Christmas, drawing inspiration from television specials of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. Burton intended to adapt the poem into a television special with the narration spoken by his favorite actor, Vincent Price who was known for his spooky spoken delivery. He also considered other options such as publishing the work as a children’s book. He created concept art and storyboards for the project in collaboration with Rick Heinrichs, who also sculpted character models for stop-action films and short movies. Initially, Disney thought the concept was a little too weird for their target audience.

Finally, in 1990, Burton worked out a deal with Disney to begin the project which was a huge success with the film being nominated for best Visual Effects.

Village Artist Tom Bates

In 2017, Department 56 has been granted the licensing rights to produce three-dimensional pieces from this popular movie, each hand crafted and hand painted in resin. Village artist, Tom Bates, enjoyed the project. He shared that he watched the movie with his daughter who loved the movie and” has seen it many, many times.” What he enjoyed most was watching the added features that showed how the Stop-motion photography was accomplished. “Each movement consisted of dozens and dozens of images put together to create a seamless action, and it they got it wrong, they had to start all over.”

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Addicted to Candy Crush

Ok, it’ true confessions time, who plays the video game “Candy Crush”? Show of hands? Who not only plays it, but is addicted to it? That’s better!

Ever wonder about how it came to be? Me, too! “Candy Crush” is a product of King Digital Entertainment, based in London, with studios in Stockholm, Sweden. The game’s inventor, Sebastian Knutsson, is credited with creating 10 of the company’s 15 worst games. I guess that means that it only takes one success to be remembered and the failures can long be forgotten.

Experts tell us that part of the fun comes from being able to play the game for free, although there are paid incentives to climb levels more rapidly. It must be a matter of patience to play the same level for hours before your capture all the correct candies.

Department 56, eager to appeal to fans, whether they be youngsters, or long time players of the game and collectors of Villages, entered into a licensing agreement for the rights to produce not only the “North Pole Candy Crush Factory”, and two adorable accessory sets, but a variety of iconic ornaments to hang from the branches of your Christmas tree. Look for “Mr. Toffee”, “Tiffy” and many of the brightly colored candies so familiar to players of the game.

What level are you on?

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Department 56: Creating Pusheen

Department 56 Sculptor Kiri Namtvedt and Artist Tate Yotter give an insider view on what it was like creating the new and quirky Department 56 Pusheen ornaments.

Sculptor Kiri:

“The first time I ever saw Pusheen I didn’t even know what her name was, but the image resonated right away because this little cat was sitting in an open refrigerator eating all the pie and I could totally relate. Pie is the best food, after all.  When I found out that we were doing Pusheen ornaments I thought it was so fun to see a three-dimensional Pusheen – so simple and round, like a pet rock, but still having all the fun adventures.”

Artist Tate:
Tate’s Cat, Tubber

“Let me start by saying that you don’t have to be a cat-lover to love Pusheen, but it definitely helps. For those of us with cats in our lives, Pusheen’s mannerisms are on point. If you don’t know Pusheen, Google her immediately, and let the giggling begin. You might remember her from Facebook. You might know her from her adorable gifs on the interweb. You may even know her from the plushies released last year by our sister company GUND.”

“If you’ve never heard of her Pusheen is a tubby little gray lady kitty. And she’s hilarious. She likes to eat pizza and doughnuts, loves spending Christmas with her fluffy friend Stormy and of course, like any cat, enjoys napping. Basically Pusheen is my spirit animal.”

“Artist Clare Belton created Pusheen. The tubby gray lady kitty was born of Clare’s comics on everydaycute.com. Sadly this site no longer exists.  But fear not! Pusheen has become an Internet sensation. This year I had the pleasure of working with Pusheen Corp and Clare in developing a line of ornaments for Department 56. I was so excited about this line and am hoping you find these little ornaments as charming as I do.”

Pusheen ornaments will be available starting this summer at your local gift retailer and at www.department56.com

©2017 Pusheen.

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Reflecting on 2016 and Looking Ahead to 2017

As we reflect on an eventful year- thankfully celebrating our enthusiasts and retailers let’s talk with a few of our brand managers about our experiences in 2016 and what to look forward to in 2017!

Irena: Classic Brands

“We were really excited to partner with Girls Scouts of America to create a fun, unique and inclusive statement of ornaments and table top pieces. We love working with Girl Scouts because we believe and support their values of honesty, fairness, courage, compassion and character. Our collection of Girl Scouts ornaments depicts girls actively participating in activities to earn their badges. Of course, this collection wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Girls Scout cookies – 200 million boxes a year!”

“Jack Daniels is another brand that I absolutely love. A legend, a true American heritage brand with rich history and a bright future. 2016 celebrated 150 years since Jack Daniels birth. We wish this great brand prosperity and longevity. Our collection of ornaments and tabletop items exude the cool and collected vibe of the brand. Black and silver colors of this collection offer an adult perspective on decorating. We continue with this legendary collection into 2017.”

jack-daniels

Ashley: Snowbabies and Snowpinions

“It’s hard to believe, but 2016 marked Snowbabies’ 30th anniversary! We commemorated this milestone with you, our loyal customers, at artist events around the country. Kristi had the opportunity to meet many new collectors as well as connect with some familiar ones.

“2016 was another sassy year for Snowpinions but just wait till you see what’s in store for 2017! There’s a dash of sweet and a pinch of snark along with some new, cuddly characters. We’ll even roll out a brand new, totally unique product type. It’s topic secret so be sure to check it out!”

Birds_BellsCLASB_Glam17

Jackie: Village

“On behalf of the whole Village team here at Department 56, Happy New Year!
We had so much fun during 2016. Some of the best selling items were the Gazebos, offered in celebration of our 40th Anniversary. Buddy, along with his cast of friends from the movie “Elf”, made their debut, while Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Grinch, and Dairy Queen remained strong among our customers and fans. We can’t wait for you to see the newest additions to your favorite Village series, along with a few surprises.”

4056682SNWVL_Glam17B

Please visit our Facebook page and let us know what you think.
Below are images from AmericasMart in Atlanta featuring some of the mentioned products so you can take a peek at how we’ve started 2017!

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