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Holiday window display is Houlton woman’s passion

HOULTON, Maine — Small ceramic villages are one of the more popular holiday decorations found in homes and for many, the small, illuminated buildings give off a sense of wonder and excitement for the Christmas season.

Multiply that feeling by about a thousand and that is how Janice Lovely feels when she unveils the massive collection of homes, stores, carousels and churches she creates at the holidays. 

 

“We’ve lost count,” Lovely said of how many tiny ceramic pieces are in her collection. “We started out with just two tables. Now there must be well over a thousand pieces.”

Located at Livingston International brokerage firm on Broadway, the yuletide display is off the beaten path, so many probably do not even know it exists. Sitting in the main window is a remarkable display of hundreds of small buildings to brighten up the holidays.

“I started collecting these villages a few years ago, and then people would tell me they had ones I could have to add to it,” she said.

Ceramic village dwellings of all shapes and sizes can be found in the front window of the Livingston International brokerage firm on Broadway in Houlton. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

Just on Friday, six more pieces were added to the collection through a donation. She buys many of the pieces at yard sales or auctions. Lovely said she takes a week’s vacation around Thanksgiving in order to get the village up and illuminated. “It takes me about three or four days to put it all together,” she said.

Tearing it down takes even longer though as each dwelling is carefully wrapped in paper or bubble wrap to ensure it is not damaged until the following holiday season. Because her collection has expanded so much, Lovely said she had to add a number of shelves in her garage just to hold all of the boxes.

For one season, Lovely moved her display to her sister’s storefront — Cheryl Lovel at Mini Music and Tack Shop on Main Street. 

The display will remain in the storefront until sometime near the end of January. 

“It takes so long to set up, we might as well leave it up for a while,” Lovely said. 

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