In one corner we have the municipal buildings: police and fire stations and the fire fighters and all their equipment. Directly in front of that are the Christmas tree stand, greenhouse and a kids' park.
The planetarium is in its usual place of honor in the fireplace. New last year is Santa and his reindeer suspended in front of the full moon. The animated skating pond (vintage 1992) is in front of the University, which is in front of the planetarium. Of course the skating pond is the favorite of all the grandchildren.
The four-tier shelf (above) is the only shelf still remaining from the ones Bill made before we moved to this house and had to reconfigure the whole village. We refer to this shelf as "the mansions on the hill". There are also some businesses on this shelf, including bike shop and hardware store.
In front of the window is a castle on top of the mountains. Directly in front of the castle on 2 lower levels are various houses, businesses and people. The farm is on the floor in front of that. The train bridge and mountains are new this year.
Below is the Polar Express train approaching the bridge. (Notice the original small houses on the mantle). I tried to photograph multiple trains running at the same time, but only caught the caboose in second photo below. Both freight trains are on the floor running in opposite directions on the same track; relays control their motion and keep them from colliding, although the grandkids still get very excited thinking they're going to crash! The Polar Express train is on the upper level, and all three trains pass through tunnels as they make their way around the loops. We are running the freight trains with just engine and caboose right now, working out the bugs. The freight cars will be added tomorrow.
The water feature started with the boat, a gift from my sister Rana in the 1990s. Toby and I made the lake from plaster of paris about 10 years ago and since then the water-related buildings have multiplied like Tupperware in the bottom cupboard!
The Blacksmith, Miller and Pottery shop (with old fashioned artisans at work) are in front of another cluster of homes and businesses.
There is a town square to the left of the farm on an upper level.
These photos present a partial view of our once-a year madness. First we remove all the furniture from the dining room and replace it with the living room furniture leaving the living room bare. Then we set up the shelves (and they always need to be tweaked). Bill installs the train tracks under the shelves, then we set up all the houses and wire them, add the accessories and snow, and Bill finishes connecting track and transformers for the trains. We used to set it up after Thanksgiving, but my loyal friend Lisa (the only one who comes year after year to help) started coming mid-November a couple of years ago and it has worked out very well.
Ho ho ho.