‘It’s great to do something you love during COVID’: Manitoba woman creates Christmas village in her home as pandemic project

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba woman’s time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic prompted her to create something she has always wanted to do for years.

Jenna Classen, who lives in Fannystelle, Man., spent her time at home working on a Christmas village that now sits along the wall in her dining room.

“I’ve had a few buildings in past years that I’ve collected from garage sales and second-hand stores, and this year, I was scrolling through Facebook Marketplace, and I hit the jackpot,” Classen said. “I got a large amount of buildings and accessories for a really good price, and that kind of inspired me.

“Honestly, I always go a little bit overboard, but because of COVID, and being stuck inside with not much else to do, I did go overboard.”

Christmas village

(Image source: Jenna Classen)

The village measures 14 feet long and three-feet high. It features a mountain landscape made of Styrofoam insulation. Each building includes a light and the full village includes a river and waterfall made out of silicone caulking.

The display, which takes up the length of the dining room table, can be easily taken apart for storage.

“I just used products I had in the shop, including the paint, everything,” Classen said. “I didn’t have to purchase anything.”

Christmas village

(Image source: Jenna Classen)

Classen, who lives on a farm, estimates it took roughly six weeks on and off to put the village together.

“On a Friday night, instead of going to a bonfire with friends, like we would normally be doing, I was in the shop carving the Styrofoam,” she said.

Classen added, “I just think it’s great to craft, it’s great to do something you love during COVID, even if it’s something you’ve never done before. Try new things, work with the things you have at home, and try to stay sane.”

For Classen, the project also allowed her to focus on something else besides the pandemic. She said a close family member was diagnosed with COVID-19, and spent 11 weeks in hospital. He was released a few days ago.

“It was just something to distract me,” she said. “I really enjoyed it. I didn’t think about it, and that’s what I needed at the time.”

christmas village

(Image source: Jenna Classen)

Due to gathering limits in Manitoba, Classen cannot have friends or family over to display her village, but is hoping to do so next year. In the meantime, she will display the village through FaceTime calls with her family, and also through video.

“I have a lot of neighbours with kids I’d like to show it to,” she said.

After finishing the project, Classen said she has some ideas for the next year, including having her father’s childhood train set, which currently sits on the display, running through the village.

Christmas village

(Image source: Jenna Classen)

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