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57 O G A U G E R A I L R O A D I N G J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 6 It started with a village. A Christmas Traditi to She Article and Photos by Emile Henault Our layout is the product of family tradition. When our children were young, we had a very small Department 56 dis- play. As our children grew, so did our vil- lage. Now as empty nesters, our Christmas village is quite large, but whether it's a reminder of summer vacations at the shore, Christmas weekends in New York City, or everyday life in Maryland, each item or scene recalls a unique and personal family experience. ose memories come rushing back every year when we look at our village. What was once a simple Christmas decoration village has truly become a family tradition. The importance of the Christmas village tradition was never as clear as when our oldest child first left home for college. As it turned out, that fall would be the turning point because, up to that point, it had been just a village, but then we added a train. The Polar Express O gauge set by Lionel took our village by storm and was an instant hit. e added sound and movement made our prior displays seem dull. We were surprised at the amount of extra time it took to incorporate the train into a large village, and as a result our daughter had to return to college from the anksgiving holiday before the layout could be completed. A week later I made a short video of the finished layout to send to her at school. e video file was much too large to e-mail, so she suggested post- ing it on YouTube. I had no idea how to do that, but with the help of our younger sons, I was able to get it uploaded. I titled it Epic Christmas Village and sent my daughter the link. She enjoyed the video and shared it with her friends. Before long, people we had never met were posting positive comments and asking questions about our layout on YouTube, so we decided to continue to share our tradition in the future. Christmas trains and a ceramic village are the ideal holiday combination.

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