How to populate your Christmas Village (updated)

Picture of How to populate your Christmas Village (updated)
Does your porcelain Christmas Village look like a deserted town? Are you tired of overpriced figurines and accessories for your Christmas Village? Does it bother you that figurines look grossly out of scale with your buildings? Here are some tips for you...
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Step 1: Find figures

Picture of Find figures
With the popularity of Christmas villaging rising in recent years, everybody seems to want to get into the action. Many drugstores, dollar stores, and even grocery stores, offer figurines, accessories and even buildings to help you build your villages. (Just this year, 2008, Rite-Aid� and Wallgreen's� in my area offered figurines and accessories.) These accessories are cheaper, ranging from $1 to a few dollars a piece.

They also seem to be built at a scale closer to the name-brand (like Lemax� and Department 56�) buildings, so putting them next to the buildings does not make them look like giants living in Lilliputia. Brand-name accessories are really made to be placed in front of their buildings, so their houses look as if they are in the background at a distance. This is called forced perspective. (Look at my picture to see how the non-brand people look much closer in scale than the name-brand.)

The figurines I am suggesting can be placed much closer to the buildings, right next or in them, and still look good.

Step 2: Select your figures

Picture of Select your figures
Locate in your neck of the woods stores that sell these alternatives to name-brand figurines. They come in single figures, multiple-figure units with the figures shown engaged in some sort of Christmas activity, or even entire scenes. Buy whatever seems to fit your Village theme, taking into consideration things like what do the figures seems to be doing and their time period (Victorian, 1950s, etc.).