The Dollar Tree Christmas village is a nice alternative for people who find the big name brands too expensive or too large for their available space. You can also use it in conjunction with those other competitors. Here’s what you need to know.
Availability of the Dollar Tree Christmas village
The biggest problem with the Dollar Tree Christmas village for many people is finding it. If you’re reading this after Thanksgiving, I’m sorry to say you’ll probably have trouble finding any of it this year. The best time of year to buy it is in late October. If you go into the seasonal aisle, it’s usually on an endcap. Halloween stuff dominates, but the Cobblestone Corners-brand buildings, figures, and accessories will be there on the endcap. They’ll replenish it until it sells out.
One year, Scout’s honor, I saw them put the stuff out in August. But that was a number of years ago. Most years, it’s out in October, and very nearly sold out by Black Friday. If you’re a traditionalist who doesn’t even think about Christmas decor until after Thanksgiving, it may be news to you that dollar stores carry this kind of stuff.
What’s the Dollar Tree Christmas village like?
The Dollar Tree Chistmas village is mostly made of plastic. When it was first introduced, the buildings were made of some kind of porcelain or ceramic and appeared to be hand painted, much like their more expensive counterparts, albeit more crudely. In more recent years, the buildings changed over to plastic. The figures, as best I can tell, always were plastic but hand-painted. They come in a smaller quantity per package today than they did years ago, but you still get multiple figures for a dollar, which is considerably less than Department 56 or Lemax charge.
The buildings don’t come lit, but they have a hole in their base where you can put a battery-operated tea candle for lighting. Using larger incandescent bulbs can cause them to melt or even create a fire hazard. If you’re going to light them with something other than a tea candle, use something LED-based for safety.
Selection on most years is limited to a handful of buildings and figures, so it can take several years to build up a variety. But you can buy the whole year’s offerings for less than $10. That’s a fraction of what you’d spend with Department 56 or Lemax.
Using Cobblestone Corners figures with other brands
The Cobblestone Corners figures that Dollar Tree sells are oversized for the buildings, but their size is about right for Department 56 or Lemax. They’re also a lot cheaper too. So if you like Department 56 or Lemax, you can save money by buying the figures at Dollar Tree, and use them with the costlier buildings. I’ve talked about this before.
I’ve also used Dollar Tree figures on Lionel and American Flyer-type train layouts. The figures are sized about right for traditional 20th century electric trains.
Another trick is to put Dollar Tree buildings behind your larger Christmas village buildings, elevated quite a bit, to give the illusion of distance. This can make your village look twice as big as it actually is. My Christmas village setup tips work with any brand.
Collecting Cobblestone Corners
Almost anything can be collectible, and the Dollar Tree Christmas village is no exception. You can find the older-issue Cobblestone Corners buildings and figures on Ebay. You will pay collectible pricing for them, especially for the older buildings made of porcelain, but they’re still less expensive than Department 56 or Lemax Christmas village products.