When I grew up, we always loved taking our Christmas decorations out but we especially loved taking out & lighting up the Christmas Village my grandfather made. The photo below is his Christmas Village that lives at my parents’ house in Canada.
We’ve recently tried to reduce the screen time of our kids, which means we have to give more thought to creative ways to keep them busy and ignite their imagination. Here in France, the kids have no school on Wednesday so last Wednesday we started making our own Christmas Village and the kids have really enjoyed making this together.
I’m documenting how we made ours so perhaps, if you want to join in on the fun, you could make your own. All 3 kids were interested in it, but Spencer and Oliver were the only ones who could really help. The cutting is a bit hard but making accessories out of items in the garden is fun for them to dream up and make.
As a start, we chose a European/Amsterdam style row house (vs the village houses my grandfather used). We found an easy template to print out on card stock paper and cut out from you from access from Nurture Store here and are free ( you just need to enter your email and it will be sent to you). This part interested Oliver initially but he found the detailed house cutting a bit tedious. Luckily, I enjoyed this part and found it very relaxing to cut them all out. We had 2 girls over for a play, who were 9 & 7 and both were good at cutting and decorating the houses as well.
After cutting the houses out, we used a black pen to add windows, doors and shingles to the roof. Then using a stanley knife or sharp paring knife, you can cut out select windows & doors. Our stanley knife wasn’t very sharp so I also tried small nail scissors which worked well too.
After the houses are decorated and windows/doors cut out, you can tape them up and set aside.
We used a big old white box which we cut in half to form the base of the village and so we could push the lights up through the bottom easily. On top of the box, we used a few layers of tissue paper and added some little mounds in certain parts by scrunching up paper towel and hiding it under the tissue paper. We glued all of the tissue and paper towel mounds down.
We cut out a bit of aluminum paper cut in an oval shape to make a skating rink
We added some glue & glitter some some pine cones to make trees
We found a shurb in our garden that had red berries that dry and maintain their colour well that we used as trees
We bought a $3 white light-up Christmas tree for the center of our town
We bought a $2.5 white truck with light up headlights
We made a few street-lamps from the shells of hazelnuts in our garden (which we lined with foil to reflect the light), super glued small sticks to them. A bit finicky but they look cute.
We made a little bench out of paper, which was a bit of experimenting but looks cut next to the skating rink
We assembled the village over a few days, as initially we placed the houses and cut little holes under them for the lights to make sure we liked where they went. We also placed the pine cones, skating rink and trees around to make sure we were happy before gluing into place. Once we were happy, we glued the paper towel mounds down underneath the tissue and glued the tissue down on top. Then we glued the base of the houses down over the lights we’d already cut into the base. The skating rink followed, then we placed the trees, street-lamps, truck and little bench.
The last step is a bit messy so I suggest doing it outside. We bought fake snow in bags (2) and added lots of glue all over the base, trees, roofs of the houses, around the skating rink and shook the snow all over to stick to the glue. We blew on it to see where we needed more glue and layered more snow where we could, pushing it down into the glue and piling it up where we needed.
And there you go, this is our village that I’m sure in years to come we can add to it, make new ones or just pull out the one we made and think back to the time we made it all together.
Find more Christmas crafts and activities to do with kids, as little as 2 years old. This one is aimed at older kids but many of our other activities are great for little people as well.
You can also find out more about me and Habitots here if you’re interested. We left a busy life in Melbourne, Australia to slow life down for a while, and moved in France in 2017. You can read all about our adventures in France here and perhaps it will inspire you to think about making a leap in your life or getting out of the rut you feel stuck in. It’s totally worth it!