Introduction: Christmas Village Display 2020

Each year I create a Christmas Village display for the dining room. Some of the buildings are inspired by Lego sets and but several are my own creations. The layout (with the additions of recreational activities, plants, trees, Christmas decorations, lights, and motorized events) is mine.


Boxes for mountain structure

Lego-compatible baseplates

Lots of legos - especially bricks, plates, slopes, doors, windows, and Christmas decorative items. for buildings

Lego parts to create a train including wheels, battery, train motor, infrared receiver, and infrared remote controller.

Lego train tracks

Lego plants, flowers, trees, and trans-color tiles and slopes for water

Lego mini-figures along with snow play equipment (skis, snow shoes, ice skates, sled, climbing equipment, snow man)

Lego critters (cats, squirrels, penguins, teddy bears)

Battery operated lights from the Dollar Store

Lego lights (4 sets)

Lego parts (strings, towers, pins, modified bricks) for ski lift and sled

Lego batteries

Lego medium motors (2)

Lego infrared receiver

Arduino (along with infrared transmitter, 330 resistor, breadboard, and 9 volt battery) for control of lego motors

Music speaker with music player (iphone)

Step 1: Build and Position Boxes (Mountain Frame)

The first step in building a new Winter Village is the layout design. I knew that I wanted mountains, so I choose to use empty boxes to serve as the structure for the mountains. Holes were cut opposite sides of each box (see Image 1) for the train to enter and exit. Foam board was glued (see Image 2) to the front and sides of the boxes to cover any markings. After covering the table with a white plastic table cloth, the boxes were positioned toward the back of the table (see Image 3). This gave me a nice large area to use for the village.

Step 2: Build Major Lego Set Buildings

Over time I have purchased parts from to create buildings modeled after Lego Winter Village Sets. I built a cottage 10229 (see Images 1 and 2), post office 10222 (see Images 3 and 4), bakery 10256 (see Images 5 and 6), toy factory 10249 (see Images 7 and 8), Santa’s village 10245 (see Images 9 and 10), and train station 10I259 (see Images 11 and 12). Each building was built on its own baseplate (16 x 32) and decorated inside of using ideas from the lego sets and my own.

Step 3: Build Lego Train

I also purchased parts from to create a train modeled after Lego Set 10254 (see Images 1, 2, 3, and 4). I also secured a lego train infrared controller (see Image 5).

Step 4: Layout Lego Sets and Park

Next, I began placing the major buildings on the table (see Image 1) and creating a central park area.

Santa’s Village was placed on top of the left box (see Image 1) and the cottage on top of the right box (see Image 2). The train station was placed near the front of the table, the toy store on the left side of the table, and the bakery and the post office on right side of the table (see Image 3). This layout left plenty of space in the middle of the table for recreational activities. Three empty baseplates were placed in the middle of the table for the central park. I built a frozen pond in the center for an ice skating rink, an open area on the right side for snow shoeing, and an open area on the left side for snow play (building a snow man).

Step 5: Layout Train Tracks

The train tracks were positioned (see Images 1, 2, and 3) through the three boxes and around the table’s outer edge (see Image 4). This left some extra lego flex tracks so I placed them on the left side of the table behind the toy shop. The first two train cars went on the track and the second two cars on the extra flex tracks.

Step 6: Build and Layout My Own Creation Buildings

The current layout has open areas on each of the train station, on the left side of the table next to the toy store, on far right side of the table behind the bakery/post office, and on top of the middle box. I knew I was going to put a ski hill on the middle box (mountain) so I designed and built a ski lodge (see Images 1 and 2) for that area. On the left side next to the toy store I designed and built two homes (see Images 3 and 4). Next to the homes I put in a nativity scene (see Images 5 and 6). On the far right side behind the bakery/post office, I designed and put in a Christmas tree/ fire wood lot (see Image 7). On the left side of the train station, I designed and put in a coffee/snack stand (see Images 8 and 9).

Step 7: Build Exterior Landscape

In this step the area on the right side of the train station is turned into a river walk with a bridge connecting both sides (Image 1). The details of central park (a large pond, ice skater, benches, snow drifts, trees, and temporary fake lights) were added (see Image 2). Additional trees, plants, flowers, and snow drifts (see Images 3 and 4) were also positioned around the buildings.

Step 8: Build Out Mountains With Recreation Facilities

The middle mountain is the center of the display with a long ski hill. First the side mountains are constructed and then a 16x32 plate is laid between the mountains (see Images 1, 2, and 3). Next a raised area was established at the bottom of the hill and the lower end of the lift is built on top of it (see Image 4). The top end of the lift is built at the top of the mountain (see Image 5). A long axle is run between the lower end of the lift and the upper end of the lift along with a string (see Image 6). The mechanics of the ski lift are discussed in Step 11. Another coffee/snack stand (see Image 7) was added at the bottom of the ski hill.

The left mountain is the sledding hill. A 16x32 plate laid on its side at an angle produces a small hill. White bricks, plates, and slopes on the plate and additional rock formations along the bottom provide an uneven terrain (see Image 8) . A minifigure on a sled made out of legos completes the scene (see Image 9).

The right mountain is the climbing hill. A 16x32 plate is attached to the box using velcro. White bricks, plates, and slopes on the plate and additional rock formations along the bottom provide an uneven terrain (see Image 10). A minifigure with climbing equipment completes the scene (see Image 11).

Step 9: Layout Lighting

I had four strings of lego lights which I choose to put on top of the mountains. I put one string in Santa's Village (see Image 1), one on the sledding hill, one in the Ski Lodge(see Image 2), and one in the Cottage (see Image 3). The lego lights require a lego battery (see Image 4). Three strings were connected to one battery (see Image 5) and one string (Cottage house) to a second battery (see Image 6). Battery lights from the Dollar Store provided a much cheaper light alternative for the other buildings (see Images 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11), tree lot (see Image 12), and park (see Image 13).

At night the lights are turned on (Images 14-22) for really nice ambience in the living room/dining room.

Step 10: Finish Details

Details have been added throughout the building process as appropriate. A review of the entire scene provided a final opportunity to add more detail (see Image 1) at this step. Benches, trees, plants, critters (squirrels and penguins), flags, signs, snowman, and snow shoeing mini-figure completed the park (see Image 2) and recreation areas. Plants, trees, flowers, and more critters (squirrels and cats) were added around the buildings (see Image 3,4). Christmas lights were added to the buildings (see Image 5). Finally, presents (wrapped boxes, freddie bears) were added around the Christmas trees.

Step 11: Set Up Motorized Features

This display motorized the sledder and the ski lift. It used two medium lego motors (see Image 1) connected to an infrared receiver connected to a battery (see Image 2).

The motor set up (see Image 1) is designed to roll up and roll down a string.

For the sled area (see Image 3), one end of the string was connected to the sledder and the other end attached to the mechanism that rotates the string around the axle.

For the ski lift area (see Images 4, 5, and 6), one end of the string was attached to the chair and the end attached to the mechanism that rotates the string around the axle,.

The motors (using the infrared receiver) could be controlled using a lego infrared controller, but I wanted it to be automatic. So I set up the an Arduino using an infrared transmitter to control the up and down motion of the sledder and ski lift. The infrared is connected to the Ground on the Arduino board and a 330-ohm. The other end of the 330-ohm attached to D3 on the Arduino board. The board is powered by a 9-volt battery connected to VIN and Ground. The Arduino code is:


LEGOPowerFunctions lego(3); //transmitter connection

void setup() {


void loop() {

lego.SingleOutput(0, PWM_FWD1, RED, CH1); //ski lift

lego.SingleOutput(0, PWM_FWD1, BLUE, CH1); //sledding

delay(2250); // time for one direction - you will need to determine for your setup

lego.SingleOutput(0, PWM_REV1, BLUE, CH1); //sledding

lego.SingleOutput(0, PWM_REV1, RED, CH1); //ski lift

delay(2250); // time for one direction - you will need to determine for your setup


See my Instructable titled "How to Move Lego Motors Autonomously Using Arduino" for more information on this circuit and code.

See Images/Videos 7 and 8 for complete movement.

Step 12: Add Sound

Music adds the final touch to the Christmas display. Using a iphone (music player) and a bluetooth speaker provides Christmas music throughout the first floor and loft area in my house. The iphone and speaker are positioned behind the mountain with the cottage (see Image 1).

Here (see Image/Video 2) is the complete scene with the train (see Images 3 and 4) but no audio due to Copyright Restrictions.

Holiday Decorations Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Holiday Decorations Speed Challenge