Christmas Village Display Ideas: Guide to Your Ideal Set-Up

Design the Christmas village you always dreamed of with these tips.

Updated August 30, 2019
Christmas village

Setting up a Christmas village display is exciting for kids and adults. Your Christmas village display ideas are limited only by your own creativity and there are no firm rules on how to display a Christmas village. Find the winning combination of layouts and accessories you can replicate year after year or create a unique setup each Christmas season.

How to Create a Christmas Village Display

Whether your village is small or large, there are a few simple steps you can follow to create any Christmas village display. Keep in mind the process of creating a Christmas village is fluid, meaning you may need to make some changes throughout the entire process to make everything fit and look great.

Step One: Determine the Size of Your Display

The size of your display either depends on the number of village houses you have. If you want a sprawling countryside display, measure the base of each house then add about six to eight inches to every side. If you want a close-knit town, only add about two inches to each house base measurement. Multiply your modified side measurement by your modified front of house measurement to see how many square inches you'll need for each house. Find the average square inches of all your houses. No matter what shape your display platform is, you'll know about how many square inches you need per house for the number of houses you have.

Step Two: Create or Choose a Display Platform

If you have solid, vacant surfaces to use you won't need to create a platform. If you don't have a free table, shelf, or mantel for example, you can build a Christmas village display platform out of sawhorses and plywood for a large display or some large cans and a wide board for a smaller display. When making your own display, you can customize certain elements like drilling holes in the base of your platform for any plugs to run through.

Step Three: Choose a Village Style or Theme

You don't have to pick a Christmas theme or style for your village, but it helps bring the whole display together. You can use this theme to determine everything from layout to accessories. Purchasing Christmas village sets can help you stick with on them. Other Christmas village theme ideas include:

  • Victorian Christmas village
  • Whimsical elf village
  • The North Pole village
  • Country winter landscape
  • Small town charm
  • Winter in the woods
Miniature Christmas scene with Santa and toy bag train

Step Four: Add Artificial Ground

Your theme and platform will determine whether you need to add artificial ground cover for your village. Most Christmas villages feature snowy ground which you can add before the houses or after if you're just sprinkling on fake snow. Ideas for Christmas village artificial ground include:

  • Large piece of glittery white leather
  • Large piece of white fleece
  • Christmas village mat in brick or cobblestone pattern
  • Cardboard spray painted white or with fake snow recipes
  • Large piece of artificial turf
  • Large Lego base pieces in white for snow, green for grass, or gray for roads
  • Single layer of cotton batting
Christmas background of winter miniature scenery with kids

Step Five: Place Christmas Village House and Accessories

Christmas village houses come in all shapes and sizes, so the exact placement will depend on the specifications of your display. Keep in mind you don't have to use every piece you own if it makes the display look too cluttered.

  1. If you have some houses that require plugs, it's a good idea to place those first so you make sure they can reach your available plugs.
  2. Next, focus on adding in the largest houses since they'll take up the most room. Place large houses in symmetrical patterns and space them evenly to anchor the display.
  3. Fill in spaces with smaller house, which don't need to be symmetrical or evenly spaced.
  4. Add accessories at the end only where they make sense or enhance the display.
Christmas Village placement

Step Six: Make a Christmas Village Map

If you love the way your Christmas village looks, draw a simple map or layout of the display. Keep the map protected in a document sleeve and include it in one of your village storage containers so you can use it year after year. Include photos of your display from different angles as a reminder of why it looked so great. To keep things interesting, create about three or four different layout options and alternate using them year to year.

Creating a Small Christmas Village Display

If you live in a small apartment or only have a small village to display, there are many ways to make your tiny village look grand. Look for unique spaces to place your village display that won't interfere with everyday routines.

Small Spaces to Display Your Christmas Village

You may not realize how many small spaces are already present in your home for a Christmas village display. You can create individual mini-scenes across a variety of flat surfaces or use a variety of elevations to make a larger display on one small surface. Some creative places to display a Christmas village include:

  • Your fireplace mantel in a long village display
  • A bookshelf in front of books or after the books have been cleared
  • On top of kitchen cabinets if there is space between the cabinets and ceiling
  • Floating shelves hung on the wall
  • Window sills if your pieces are small
  • As a centerpiece along the middle of your dining table
  • Side table or nightstand
Little Christmas village on small table display

DIY and Creative Small Village Platform Ideas

If you don't have an open space to use for your display, consider making a Christmas village platform that doesn't take up a lot of space. Use fabrics and faux snow options to cover up any unsightly parts of your DIY display stand.

  • Create a multi-level, wide and tall display that sits close to the wall by adding wide and thin pieces of flat lumber to the steps on a small ladder.
  • Make a dual-shelf stand by placing two coffee cans a few feet apart and topping with a two by six piece of wood. Place village items on top of the wood and underneath it.
  • Create a line of upside-down wine glasses, each with an accessory or snow housed inside, then top with serving trays to hold your display.
  • Purchase a back of the door caddy or shower caddy you can hang from a door that has shallow shelves to use for your display.
  • Purchase a hanging fabric closet organizer and attach to a strong curtain rod on one of your windows and fill the shelves with your village.
  • Multi-tier shoe racks work great because the feature long shelves that aren't deep and you can set it on the floor or a counter top.
  • Upcycle a cat condo or cat tree into a small display stand with the addition of Christmas fabrics.

Buildings and Houses to Use in Small Christmas Villages

Small Christmas village houses are great for small displays, but you can still use one large one to anchor the whole village if space permits. Consider centering your display around one main building like a Christmas nativity set so the village looks complete, but is made mostly from accessories. For small displays, it's best to think of one specific scene you can create. You can set individual scenes around the house for a bigger decorative impact.

Christmas Village Accessories for Small Displays

The accessories in a small village display really outshine the houses as you'll have more room for these tiny additions. Since Christmas village accessories are typically cheaper than buildings, this is also a great option for anyone on a decorating budget. Look for cute accessories that include people and animals doing different things to bring action and life to your village. Think about things like a bench with someone sitting on it or an elf riding a reindeer. Battery-powered accessories can also help boost the impact of your small scene.

Christmas Village accessories

Creating a Large Christmas Village Display

When you have a lot of room to fill or room for several good-sized Christmas village displays, you can create an entire miniature town. Think of your large display as a complete miniature village and make sure it has everything that type of village would need in real life like a grocery store, bank, church, and transportation.

Spaces to Display Your Large Christmas Village

Large Christmas village displays can take over entire pieces of furniture or entire rooms. Depending on how important the village is to you, you might even take over a commonly used space just for the holiday season.

  • Transform your dining room table into a village and eat on TV trays while the table is occupied.
  • Re-purpose the kids' train table into a Christmas village display table for a few months.
  • Put the fine china in storage and fill your China cabinet with a multi-level village display.
  • Bring your outdoor dining table inside and create the display on top of it.
  • Push together several pieces of furniture with flat tops to create a huge display.
Large Christmas village

DIY and Creative Large Christmas Village Platform Ideas

Build a custom Christmas village display that fits a particular space in your home or look for ways to re-purpose furniture pieces.

  • Set up a DIY display table with a piece of plywood on top of two sawhorses.
  • Flip a few white dresser drawers upside-down on a large table to create multiple tiers for display.
  • Make a giant round display platform by adding several round pieces of plywood to a tall wooden pole where each layer up the pole is smaller than the one below to mimic a Christmas tree shape.
  • Stack slices of a log to make a mountainous village display on top of a table using larger slices on the bottom and smaller at the tops.

Buildings and Houses to Use in Large Christmas Villages

If you have a large display space, you can use a few large buildings to anchor the entire display. You'll still want to include buildings in a variety of sizes to add visual interest. Short and wide buildings don't work great in small displays, but they are the perfect choice for large displays. You can use almost any house or building in a large display, but be sure you accentuate the grand scale of the display by providing as much height as there is width.

Christmas Village Accessories for Large Displays

Adding fun elements like a Christmas electric train or mini Christmas presents around your large Christmas village can help it come to life. This is the place to use accessories that move. From Ferris wheels to toy factory conveyor belts, you can find loads of accessories that travel across the span of your village. You'll also want to choose accessories like Lemax Christmas village miniatures that fit the scale of your houses and your village. Purchase unique accessory items or make your own by using things like beach glass to create water features.

Christmas Village Magic

Christmas village display tables bring the magic of Christmas into your home in a memorable way. Whether your village is whimsical or antique Victorian, it is reminiscent of an elf village or fantasy Christmas world. Look for unique ways to highlight your best pieces and bring magic to your Christmas village. You can even make setting up the Christmas village an annual tradition for yourself, your kids, or your grandkids.

Christmas Village Display Ideas: Guide to Your Ideal Set-Up