Collectors Lynn's Story

Lynn and Emily started their Village collection by purchasing the Christmas in the City - Sutton Place Brownstones in 1987, while on vacation.   Once back home they realized they had a store in Reno, NV that sold Dept 56 and subsequently purchased another building, several accessories, and of course some trees. 

The next year, while vacationing in Massachusetts and Maine, they stumbled on the Dept 56 Old North Church, thinking it was an exclusive piece offered only for that particular area of the country, they purchased it and had it shipped back home to Reno. They then learned more about the many Department 56 villages, and the numerous themes that were part of the wider collection, and that’s when they became “HOOKED ON VILLAGES”.   But their first love was always Christmas in the City!

In 1991, they purchased a new home that just so happened to have plenty of room to display the villages they had collected thus far.  They had village displays in every room of the house! To show off their villages to family & friends, they decided to schedule an open house so that everyone could come see their new home, as well as their new hobby! This was the beginning of what would become 21 years of Holiday Open Houses and Village Displays!

Rather than try and follow everyone around the house and explain all the displays/Villages, they chose to create a printed program that would outline all that was on display. A self-guided tour of sorts!

Unfortunately, Emily passed away in 2004. And for the following two years, Lynn just didn’t have the heart to put up the displays in her absence. Luckily Lynn had a dear friend, Sonya, who moved in with her, and the two reestablished the Christmas display tradition.  They also established a rule of thumb that if there was a flat surface in the house, decorate!  Christmas in the City seemed to be the collection that would inevitably get a new building or accessory on a more regular basis!  Lynn & Sonya had fun creating a parade down Main Street supported by police cars and barricades, among other village features.

Sonya added a delightful addition to the villages (a “Where’s Waldo”-like tradition) She had a small 6-inch-tall ceramic bear that she would hide somewhere in one of the villages each year.  On the program, the last comment would be, “Did you find the Bear?”.  The children came back each year trying to find that elusive bear!

One year, in a wonderful twist of fate, and coincidentally, twelve days before Christmas, there was a knock on the door, and a package left on the doorstep.  For all twelve days leading up to Christmas, another of the Dickens’ Village - 12 Days of Christmas accessory package would appear at their front door, left anonymously! By Christmas Eve, their Dickens’ Village 12 Days of Christmas display was complete! To this day, Lynn & Sonya still have no idea the identity of that generous gifter. Whoever you are, please know the incredible joy your thoughtfulness provided these ladies!

After all the upheaval of our world in 2020, Lynn & Sonya realized they could no longer carry on the tradition, it had become somewhat overwhelming for the two to maintain. In an effort to continue, they put up displays on a smaller scale. But then, it was decided that it was time to find new homes for the collection.  Their desire was for others to find that same joy, and treasure the pieces, as they had for so many years!  So, in the summer of 2023, Allison and her husband, John, flew into Reno, packed up the collection, and drove it all back to Seattle in a 15 foot moving van.  This wonderful collection will be available for new homes starting in the 2023 Holiday Season!