They are popular holiday decorations, Christmas Village pieces made by Department 56. Most people collect a few on an end table or mantle. But each Christmas, Laura Sacco clears out an entire room in her East Boston Home. “At best count, there’s a little over a thousand,” she said.
Sacco’s mother started the collection back in 1978 with two little shops. Each year she would buy new pieces and little by little, the village started looking more like a city.
About ten years ago, Sacco’s mother passed away and she couldn’t bring herself to set it up for a few years, but now she’s back at it and still adding to the collection. Last year, her kids gave her a roller coaster to add to the amusement park section that has a merry-go-round, tilt-a-whirl and even bumper cars with tiny cars that move around in circles. “That was my mom’s favorite ride,” she said.
Each piece has a story. Laura and her siblings all played hockey, so there’s a pond hockey scene with two players skating around a net. Her kids like to bowl, so there’s a bowling alley. And her dad loved Ford cars, so there’s a Ford dealership. There’s even a McDonald’s and a Home Depot. “I worked at Home Depot, so they gave me that,” she said.
Growing up, Sacco says she remembers her dad wanting to share it with the whole neighborhood. “My dad was always very proud of the village and the work that my mom did putting it up. He would stop people on the street and bring them up to the house,” she recalled.
Now she shares it with her grandchildren. “They can sit up here for hours watching it and every time they come over, they see something they didn’t see yesterday, or the day before. It’s lots of fun.”