Charleston Man’s Christmas Village Collection Makes Its Annual Trip Out of Storage

Posted on Dec 24 2009 - 9:10am by John Stevens

When Danny Beckner, of Charleston, West Virginia, decorates for Christmas, he doesn’t just put up a few strings of lights. He goes into storage and pulls out his collection of more than 80 miniature houses and businesses. Beckner’s Christmas village collection includes people, pets, horses, a train, and many other accessories. The collection, which once fit in Beckner’s living room, now has grown to be so big that it takes up an entire house. 

In June 2008, Beckner’s aunt, Ida Baisden, who lived on the same block as Beckner, died. She left Beckner’s son, Eric, her house. So the family decided Baisden’s house would be the perfect place to display Beckner’s Christmas village collection. Each year Beckner configures the village a little differently. “I started in mid-October with the goal of being finished by Thanksgiving…I worked on it a little each evening,” Beckner told the Charleston Daily Mail. 

Each of Beckner’s houses are less than a foot tall. He has more than 300 people to go with them. Each tiny person is unique. There are people skating and shopping. One of the churches has a bride and groom inside. 

Many people have miniature Christmas village collections, but not everyone knows how to pack and store miniatures to avoid damage. Miniatures need to be stored in a climate-controlled space. To pack a collection, you should gather tissue paper, styrofoam peanuts, packing tape, masking tape, foam, a permanent marker, and two sturdy boxes for each miniature. One box will hold the miniature in its original packaging, and the other is a box to pack the miniature in. Fill all the openings in the miniature with packing materials, such as tissue or shredded styrofoam peanuts. If your miniatures have pieces that come out, such as Beckner’s tiny people, wrap each one separately. Place tissue under the dresses of dolls to support the fabric and keep it from being crushed. You can group tiny items in individual bubble wrap envelopes. Make bubble wrap envelopes by taping sections of bubble wrap into envelope pockets that are sized to fit the miniature. Tape the pockets shut when you are done. 

Put every piece, once wrapped, into an appropriately-sized box. If the pieces are small enough, pack them inside pieces of egg carton. Fill in the space that is left with styrofoam peanuts. Then place each initial box into a second box, filling the space between the two boxes with soft packing materials. Mark each box with a permanent marker. Then you are ready to put them into storage for another year.