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Miniature villages ... a Moravian tradition.

We found them under many Western Christmas trees

OUR REQUEST FOR photos and descriptions of miniature villages you assemble for the holidays brought an overwhelming response. These putzes, as they're known in Moravian tradition, have become a major part of many Western families' holiday observances.

Here, we show two villages culled from the scores of letters we received. One features a plaster-covered base that allows for quick assembly. The other changes from year to year, allowing for greater flexibility as the collection of buildings and figurines expands. Both take into account electrification.

We chose these examples because they address the two ways you can set up your displays--freestanding or tucked under the tree.

Shown in the picture above is Phil Kardys's display in Mountain View, California. Bedrock for his village is a 4-foot square of 1/2-inch plywood; the plaster-covered wire terrain rises to camouflage all but the top of a permanently attached reservoir tree stand. Wiring for building lights and an electric train track snakes beneath the plywood. A plug strip for tree lights is built in along the rear edge of the stand.

Since all wiring is part of the base, erecting the village involves just putting the tree in the stand, placing the houses over the exposed light bulbs, then setting up all the other accompanying figurines.

At left, you see Philip Wayne's display in North Hollywood. For him, the process is the joy. As he says, the display "takes a few weeks of love to assemble." His tabletop village uses a variety of stands to set the structures at varying levels. Wiring for lights and the prerequisite electric train follow. Then all is camouflaged with faux snow, greens, and a paper skirting crumpled and painted to simulate rock.
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Author:Crosby, Bill
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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