Shop for lighted villages, Snowbaby figurines, ornaments, and more
The Story of Department 56
One Christmas evening, a group of friends set off to enjoy a dinner of celebration at a small country inn nestled in a quiet river town. As they rounded a bend in the road, they saw the old-fashioned village decorated for the holidays. The lights, like fairies, glowed and sparkled on the freshly fallen snow. All evening, the conversation was full of Christmas memories and the visions the tiny town had evoked. Amid the jovial banter and magical memories, the idea for a lighted Christmas village was born. That spark of an idea became reality when, in 1976, Department 56 introduced a series of six hand-painted ceramic buildings. The company began as part of Bachman's, a premier retail florist in Minneapolis. Bachman's used a numbering system to identify each of its departments. The number assigned to the wholesale gift imports division was--you guessed it--56. Now headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Department 56 has become a leader in the giftware, collectibles, and holiday decorating industry and is best known for its handcrafted lighted villages, Snowbabies figurines, and extensive lines of holiday and home decorative products.