Playing Around with Scale and Proportions

Christmas Village Displays

Picture of scene with horse-drawn sledge, cat, stone wall and trees, all perfectly to scaleUnless you are able to buy all of the elements for your Christmas village from a single supplier, such as Lemax, you may encounter problems trying to get everything to be of the same proportions to each other.

The whole question of scale can be quite a subjective issue, since the idea of a winter landscape is more often than not just a bit of fun to involve children in the lead up to the big day, December 25th. However, some collectors take scale very seriously and try their hardest to keep similar ratios in all aspects of their villages, particularly when it comes to people, houses, cars, trees and animals.

Model railway sets from hobby stores are often much smaller than the waiting passengers and if you are looking in toy shops for miniature animals, you will likely only find squirrels, ducks and deer that are far larger than your figurines themselves.

Correcting Problems with Scale

Further photograph of winter village, with houses, swing, snowman and figurines of children playingTo some extent, the problem of scale can be overcome by carefully choosing where you position your Christmas village accessories. If you have a particularly large bench, then rather than place it next to smaller people or next to a small porcelain house, position your bench alongside a tall tree or a big building, perhaps towards the back of the display or to one side.

It may help to get down on the same level as your pathways and roads to have a look at your creation as if you are walking along the streets, passing by the model houses and the miniature accessories. You could also take a photograph of the arrangement and then study the 'flat' picture carefully, rather than the actual three-dimensional village itself. When something 'jars' in the arrangement, it will soon be apparent and stand out very obviously once it has been spotted.

If you are able to take criticism, then perhaps ask a friend or relative for some constructive feedback and ask if anything appears to be out of place after a quick glance. However, don't get carried away and over analyse your arrangement - if it looks good to you, it will most probably look great to everyone else, regardless of whether or not there is a giant reindeer on a mountain at the back.

Photo of a Christmas Village display at a garden centre, with out of scale trees used in the backgroundThis photo (right) is a good example of when overly large items can actually merge into the background of a Christmas village once placed at the back.

The scale of these two trees is clearly wrong, as they are far too large for the scene, and yet somehow they do manage to provide a very subtle and satisfying natural background. If they were placed closer to the front, the overall presentation would not appear so attractive or realistic, becoming rather more fragmented, muddled and displeasing to the eye.

Examples of scale within model Christmas villages:

Photo showing a Lemax figurine with pushchair and child, next to a slightly over large window box from a dolls house:
Picture of a Lemax figurine with pushchair

View down a miniature cobblestone street, with all aspects in proportion to each other:
Photo of a cobblestone street within a Christmas village

Close-up showing tiny dolls house presents, displayed beneath a model Christmas tree:
Photo of dolls house presents underneath a miniature Christmas tree

View along a model village shopping street, with a Lemax Gas Lantern standing behind a large shrub made using Fimo:
View of a street, with model Gas Lantern

Image of a miniature shrubbery (hiding a battery pack), with great attention to detail, shown next to a Colonial Lamp:
Image of a Colonial Lamp, by Lemax