In 2003 I moved to Maine from the green pastures of England, and discovered many things. Bacon could be cooked in the microwave, though it shouldn’t be. Snow comes in feet not inches. And there is a whole industry based around miniature villages. For my first American Christmas, my new American Aunt gave me the LEGO Creation Station from the North Pole Series of Department 56. I was instantly enamored, and, being a natural hoarder, saw myself amassing a vast collection, my own tiny Christmas empire to rule over. We drove into North Conway, NH, where I was told I could see whole villages set up at The Christmas Loft. We drove. We saw. We tallied the cost and walked away empty handed.
Ever year since then I have eyed these miniature wonderlands with a touch of envy. My middle child and I visit “the little houses” as he calls them, every year after Thanksgiving. It started three years ago, when I fully intended to let him pick one for me to purchase, to kickstart my collection now that we had a little more disposable income. But again, we came away empty handed. Fast forward to the winter of 2019. It was a very good year. The winds blew in hard from the North. The storms kept at bay. And Funko released a line of miniature houses and accompanying Funko Pop figures. I threw caution to the wind and purchased the whole line. Oh the joy it has brought me this holiday season.
The Peppermint Lane collection contains four buildings, each with their own figure, an additional double pack of elves, a bonus Santa, and a bonus Mayor Patty Noble.
Santa’s house comes complete with relaxed Santa, in his underwear, hanging out with his pup Nutmeg. You can, in addition, buy a fully decked for work Santa Claus. My children opted to leave Santa in his undies on display until Christmas week, at which point Santa in full red suit came out to get down to business. Much the same way as some families keep the baby Jesus out of their nativity until Christmas day. A two-story house, with a Christmas tree facade: the perfect place to snuggle up with Mrs. Claus.
City Hall is a three-storied green Tudor-style building that comes complete with Mayor Patty Noble. Mayor Noble is a Christmas tree, and very committed to her post. It is unclear at this stage whether she was elected or nominated to the position. Mayor Noble comes complete with official sash and yellow bow.
No village would be complete without a mail carrier, especially in the North Pole. The North Pole Post Office on Peppermint Lane comes with Frosty Franklin the mail carrier. Presumably Frosty is in charge of deliveries around the pole itself, and they have someone less prone to melting to carry the mail outside of the upper circle. The post office is decorated with a giant thermometer. It is unclear whether this is measuring the temperature or Christmas spirit; I’ll need to check out the blueprints at City Hall.
This year, Funko released a special fourth Christmas house. The announcement of which leads me, most hopefully, to believe that houses will be released annually, and so this can become the miniature village of my dreams. The Crescent Moon Diner is where Santa gets his daily cup of Joe from Alice Cranberry, the sassy waitress who serves up Peppermint Cocoa and Coffee, no judgment. The diner is a modest establishment, decorated in a light pink that really makes it pop in town! Thanks to my four year old, you will frequently find all the other Peppermint Lane residents taking up space around the Diner, having their lunch while gossiping about the naughty and nice list.
Of course no North Pole village would be complete without elves, and you can purchase a set. Randy and Bob are a cracker jack team. You will find them hard at work making sure the sleigh is ready, when they are not tinkering with the wi-fi at the diner (password HoH0Ho!).
Mrs. Claus does not come with her own house, as she lives with underwear Santa. Though I think at some point it would be useful if she had her own office space; after all, Santa only works one day a year but there’s far more to it than that. Mrs. Claus comes complete with cookies, her cat Candy Cane, and a hat that Mrs. Maisel would be proud of.
There are two additional figures that are duplicates of characters that come with houses. Santa Claus, while in his underwear at home, needs to be fully dressed when traveling the world for work. His standalone is a jolly figure holding Christmas presents. You can also purchase out of hours Mayor Patty Noble. Gone is the sash and ribbon, out comes the flower and lights for party time! This Mayor Noble gets down and twinkly at Alice Cranberry’s after hours party at the diner.
The houses are not made of vinyl; they are made of sturdy plastic, which was disappointing for a moment, but they are too cute to stay mad at. They each take two double AA batteries to power their inside lights, which to me is preferable to the electrical villages I have been coveting for so long. I keep forgetting to turn the lights off at the end of the day, so they have been on pretty much constantly since the day after Thanksgiving; the Amazon Basics batteries have not failed me yet. At the moment the whole set will set you back $182 plus tax and shipping.
I could not ask for more from this village. It is the fulfillment of a dream 16 years in the making, and I cannot wait to see what they come out with in the 2020 releases. My suggestions would be a stable complete with flying reindeer, a workshop for Randy and Bob, and a Snowflake factory with chief supervisor Jack Frost.