Loretta Gorlitz creates Christmas village

Written by David Green.


For most of the year, the Gorlitz house in Seneca is known as Loretta’s Woodenworks. But when the holiday season arrives, it’s a different story. More than half of her living room is converted into a Christmas village—a very large Christmas village.

The project began in a simple enough fashion back in 1993, Loretta says.

“It stated off with just a couple of houses under the Christmas tree,” she said. loretta_front

It grew enough in the next couple of years that she decided to place the model buildings on top of a table. It grew a little more, so she decided to place the growing village on a half sheet of plywood.

“From there, it just grew,” Loretta explained.

Next came a full sheet. And now two sheets.

This year, 11 new buildings were added as the village grew to encompass a four foot by 16 foot area of the front room.

To grow any bigger in length, she’d have to give up the use of the bathroom and bedroom. To go any wider, she would have to remove all the furniture from the room. She already stores several pieces in the garage from about Thanksgiving to the middle of January.

Most of the miniature houses, stores and miscellaneous buildings—even an outhouse—are gifts she receives from friends and family members. She said her children get as excited as she does when they bring over a new purchase.

“I’m so glad I didn’t stick with just one brand,” she said. “It makes it look more like a real city.”

Among the companies creating the collector pieces are Dickens, LaMonde, Toy Town and Victorian. Many of the buildings are lighted through electrical cords hidden under the cotton “snow” of her fantasy countryside. A few are battery operated and have to be switched on when it’s time to show off the village.

Her layout includes an ice skating pond and a toy train and track. One of the new acquisitions is a home with fiber optic lighting that really bursts through in the windows and miniature Christmas decorations.

There’s nothing static about the display because she changes the arrangement every year to create a new design.

Among the dozens of structures, there must be some favorites.

“I don’t think so,” Loretta says. “I love each and every piece.”

So with half the room gone, is this the end of the housing boom in Loretta’s living room?

“Oh, it will keep growing,” she said. “I’ll just have to build up instead of out.”

Loretta will find a way. Look for some new housing in the mountains next Christmas.

    - Dec. 18, 2002


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