Darlene and her husband, Michael, have no children of their own, but family started giving Christmas villages as gifts and her 28-year collection grew from that. It comprises 181 houses, entire scenes, vehicles, sleighs, trains and even a spaceship that has landed.
One of her prized pieces is an original released in 1976 called “The Inn,” and a car that usually she places in front of The Inn was one of her first accessories. The beauty of this collection is that it encapsulates entire pieces of American life into a miniature form that allows the viewer to reminisce. In her dining room she has a feature she calls “Downtown area,” which captures the beauty of Christmas life in a wonderful city.
This collection is so extensive, “we only put it on display every other year,” says Darlene. They have more than 42 U-Haul dish boxes of houses alone, and that doesn’t include all the accessories, so she begins setting up the displays in October to complete them by Thanksgiving.
“Depending on what pieces come out of the boxes first is how we begin to set it all up.” She adds,“That’s what makes it different every year!”
She works by setting up the various collections from the wall out onto the tables, then puts on the houses, wiring for all the electrical needs. Then come the people, trees and garlands, and finally she puts on the finishing touches of “snow” cover to hide all the wires.
The final product is amazing. According to Webb, “the daytime sunlight almost distorts the images. However, at night is when it all beautifully comes alive.”
Not only is there the traditional winter and Christmas scenes with religious memorabilia, there are ice skaters, a snowboarder, a ski lift where the cable cars move up the mountain and a waterfall with real water. There is so much more. Cyclists, a drive-in theater, a Harley-Davidson store where the sign says “Things are different on a Harley,” a football field and stadium, our national monuments in Washington, D.C., a junk yard (every town has one of those), an equestrian stable complete with jumps, a Ford Motor Company dealership with cars displayed in the showroom. Those true pieces of Americana would not be complete without “Coca-Cola,” the kids dancing on “Dick Clark’s American Bandstand” and, of course, the one and only Elvis.
The Webbs enjoy opening their home to share their treasures with various church groups, garden clubs and friends. Her collection is a wonderful tour not only for the eyes, but is complete with all the sounds of the season as well!