Seasons greetings everybody! It's that time of year, the time of year when people around the world pull out their festive decoration boxes from the basement, attic or top shelf of the hallway cupboard. While non LEGO fans may be pulling out simple wreaths, stars, angels and tinsel - LEGO fans have something a little more exciting to look forward to each year. Their LEGO Winter Village collections of course!
We've been getting tagged in a lot of posts on social media, like video below, Light My Bricks fans assembling and lighting their Winter Village displays ahead of the festive season. So we thought it'd be a good opportunity to take a bit of an in depth look at the Winter Village as a series. The history and evolution of the sets as well as our approach to lighting each set and how the Winter Village sets in particular have pushed us to change and improve our design style over time.
Jeroen from the Netherlands, sent us this awesome clip of his Winter Village collection
Let’s start with a little history on what is now one of LEGO’s most anticipated annual releases - because the LEGO Winter Village didn’t start out that way.
While there is a dispute among the wider LEGO community as to what the very first Winter Village set was, for the most part, the consensus is that the 2006 release of the 10173 Holiday Train is where it all began. A great LEGO train model on its own right, it’s the small addition of Christmas decorations along with snowy mountain box art that solidifies this set as the beginning of the Winter Village series, not to mention that it’s been rereleased since as an official Winter Village addition by LEGO. We rest our case!
The original 10173 Holiday Train released in 2006 and the 10254 Winter Holiday Train re-released in 2016
Now we mentioned that the Winter Village series was not always an annual release, because, after the Holiday Train’s release in 2006, it wasn’t until three years later that we saw the next instalment in The Winter Village Toy Shop. Hugely popular with LEGO fans everywhere and with no doubt in its central Christmas theme, the success and popularity of this set cemented the annual tradition of a Winter Village release!
Fast forward to 2014 after LEGO had consistently released 'traditional' themed Winter Village sets each year, to the delight of LEGO fans world wide, this year they decided to change things up a little. Enter the 10245 Santa’s Workshop, which took LEGO fans out of the realism of the traditional Winter Village - and into the fantastical world of the North Pole.
The following year in 2015, was where the design team at Light My Bricks began to really take notice of the Winter Village. The 10249 Winter Village Toy Shop that was re-released that year was the first set that we produced a light kit for and we never looked back!
Perhaps the most important addition to the Winter Village series for Light My Bricks is the 2018 release of the 10236 Winter Village Fire Station. This set played a huge role in the evolution of our approach to designing light kits, not just for Winter Village sets, but ALL sets! The Winter Village Fire Station was a widely popular release, in part due to the great design of the actual Fire Station building by the LEGO team but also because it came with several independent mini structures like the ice rink, the lamp and park bench and of course that awesome Christmas tree!
The Winter Village Fire Station pushed us to evolve and expand our lighting designs going forward
These free-floating, mini builds presented a major design challenge for the Light My Bricks designers at the time, who up until this point had in comparison always had a fairly easy time hiding and concealing loose wires in and around a light kit installation. The design team working on this light kit were forced to come up with completely new and advanced techniques in order to properly hide the stray wires. Techniques that we still employ today!
Last year's Gingerbread House release saw Lego return to the ‘North Pole’ or fantastical side of the Winter Village and this set skyrocketed the popularity and interest in the Winter Village series. As an Expert Creator level LEGO build, the set features a ton of detail both inside with that warm fireplace and out with the blankets of snow forming on the pitched roof. This has turned out to be one of our most popular kits of all time and we can see why.
This year's Elf Club House saw LEGO remaining on the fantastical side of town, even adding a bit more humour and another Christmas Tree with an oversized star!
By now, if your Winter Village collection is growing, then you will have a number of different Christmas trees. It’s fascinating to see the different LEGO construction methods that can be employed to create the same object and each one provides us with a new lighting challenge. After all, what could be more necessary for us to light up than a Christmas Tree?
We hope you've enjoyed this dive into the LEGO Winter Village series, we've certainly enjoyed thinking back to all of our favourite sets and the roles they've played in the Light My Bricks story. There are so many great sets in the series, we couldn't highlight them all! If your favourite set wasn't mentioned above, get in touch via our Instagram to let us know which one is most special to you and why!
Speaking of favourites, it's about time we got our collection out to light up, just in time for when Santa pays us a visit!
Happy Holidays from all of us at Team Light My Bricks! Enjoy the festive season with lots of love, laughs and of course lots of lights.