Man Creates Miniature Christmas Village in Basement
There are a lot of holiday displays to be seen in this area. People have decorated their homes inside and out. However, one Christmas display is a lot different than probably any other. It honors the writer who penned one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time.
It’s located in Gary Carver's basement in Millcreek. Every Christmas season, Gary’s sets up a spectacular display called Dickens' Village. It's a miniature city that represents London in the mid-1800s. That's the period when Charles Dickens wrote many of his famous novels, including A Christmas Carol. That's the saga of Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation from a mean old codger to ‘as good of man as the good old city ever knew.”
"It takes about a month to put together,” says Gary. “A month sometimes upwards of two months depending on how busy I am. And then we'll invite friends and family over to see it."
The collection includes 225 hand painted buildings made of porcelain. They are manufactured by a company called Department 56. Some structures represent famous landmarks of London including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Windsor Castle. The display also includes fictitious buildings from A Christmas Carol. There’s the Bob Cratchit house. There’s Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past walking by Scrooge's old school building watching Scrooge and his girlfriend Belle in happier times. There’s Fezziwig's warehouse. Gary also has figures of Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future at the church cemetery where the Old Humbug sees his own tombstone.
"And it just keeps growing and growing,” says Gary. “Now we have 225 lit pieces, about 482 people that are actually in the village. 41 houses. 17 dogs. 9 cats, 3 snowmen…"
Gary bought the first piece as a Christmas gift for his wife in 1988. It was the village church. He never thought he would be the one who would make the collection grow and grow to what it is today.
"No, I had no idea. In fact, I thought she would really enjoy it. Come to find out, I seem to enjoy it even more than she did,” he says.
How can you not enjoy it? Especially when the lights are turned off in the basement and visitors can admire the twinkling lights of London.
Gary assembles the display differently every year. He usually keeps the village up through January and February so all of his friends and family get a chance to see it.