Art Teacher Takes to ‘Extreme Villaging’

by | Dec 13, 2014

Like many, Auburn art teacher Debbie Johnson enjoys Christmas village scenes.  The quaintly lit miniature houses and storefronts surrounded by artificial snow lend a certain spirit of the season to many a living room and office this time of year.

Unlike many people, however,  Johnson has assembled such a collection of these decorations that they take up the entire front of her home.  Last Friday, Johnson opened her home to school staff, classroom helpers and some of their children to come and view her extensive display.

“It takes about three weeks to set up” said Mrs. Johnson. “That’s why we only take it out about every three to four years.”

Johnson’s living room is ringed by the houses, some playing music, most that light up.  Johnson has several distinct themes within the display itself.

“There is a seaport area, the mountain cabins, the village and a carnival” she pointed out.

True to her profession as an elementary school art teacher, Johnson says, “Each of the areas tells a story.  In the village there is a boy following his mother who is carrying shopping bags.  He’s excited about Christmas presents inside.  Then there is the skating rink, which pooped out on me this year!” (The skaters used to circle around the ‘ice’.)

Part of the three week setup is wiring the display.  Mrs. Johnson’s daughter helps with all the electric. “I couldn’t do it without her” says Johnson.  “I only have to plug in maybe three cords.  She does all the wiring under the tables and keeping it organized.”

Most of the display pieces are the brand ‘Department 56″, though Johnson has picked up a few other pieces along the way.  “I’ve been collecting them for about 8 years now” she says.

Unfortunately most people don’t get to look at the display first hand.  So we hope you get an appreciation of the extent of the Johnsons’ display from this slideshow.