A Christmas Vacation Table Setting with Dept. 56 Lit Houses

Welcome to the 533rd Tablescape Thursday!

This has been such an interesting, busy week. Yesterday I was awakened at 4:15 in the morning by a trembling bed. Having experienced two earthquakes during the last 10 or so years, I was pretty sure we were having another one. A quick check of Twitter confirmed it. I rarely visit Twitter but it’s a great place to go if you’re wondering if an earthquake has just happened. Everyone seems to go there immediately to ask, “Did anyone else feel that or am I just losing my mind?”

By the time I was fully awake and knew what was going on, it was almost over, lasting only about 10 more seconds. They are saying this is the biggest one we’ve ever had here…measuring at 4.4. It didn’t feel as intense to me as the other two I’ve experienced, perhaps because the epicenter was further away this time in Decatur, TN.

Don’t know why, but I awoke again this morning at 4:15. I have a Christmas party to attend today, but after that I think I’m coming home and taking a big, fat nap. lol


Tablescape Thursday

Last Christmas season, I had so much fun creating this table setting with a “Christmas Vacation” movie theme. If you missed that previous tablescape, you’ll find it here: Christmas Vacation-themed Tablescape.

Christmas Vacation Christmas Tablescape


As I was taking photos of this table last Christmas, I was thinking how awesome it would be if I had a few more of the Dept. 56 Christmas Vacation houses, then I could do another row of houses behind the three seen below. Last year I only had Clark’s house, his garage( seen to the right of his house) and his neighbor’s (Margo and Todd) house next door. It’s the blue one with the tree crashing through the upstairs window. Ha!

Christmas Vacation Moose Mugs in Christmas Vacation Tablescape


Many years ago I created this Christmas table below with Dept. 56 lit houses. When I created that tablescape, I had enough houses to line them down both sides of the table, as well on the ends, just like in a real neighborhood. I loved how that looked, although my table is almost too narrow to pull that off. lol

I still have all those houses, so I suppose I could mix a few of those in with the Christmas Vacation houses, but I’d really rather use houses that are from the actual Christmas Vacation series. (View more of this table setting here: Christmas Tablescape with Dept. 56 Lit Houses.)


Most of the homes from the Dept. 56 Christmas Vacation series have been retired, nonetheless, I was shocked when I saw what they were going for on eBay. For example, Boss Frank Shirley’s House (Clark’s boss in the movie) is currently selling as a “Buy It Now” for $475 with $20.30 shipping. Or, if you prefer the auction style, there’s one that’s up to $202.50 with 13 bids and 4 more days left to go. This is how the prices looked last year when I was shopping for additional Christmas Vacation houses on eBay.

After seeing these prices, I was a bit discouraged thinking I’d never be able to add to my collection. There’s just no way I was going to pay those kinds of prices for the Boss Shirley house.


One more example: Todd and Margo’s house (the neighbors who live next door to Clark in the movie) is a house I currently have, having tripped across it in A Classy Flea for $10 a few years ago. It was missing its light which was easy and inexpensive to replace since they can be ordered online from Dept. 56, and it had a teeny, tiny chip in the snow at its base. I knew fake snow would hide that when it was displayed, so decided to buy it. That was actually the first piece of the Christmas Vacation collection I ever purchased.

Margo & Todd's House, Dept. 56 Christmas Vacation


Currently, with 8 bids, it’s selling for $610.00 + shipping, with 11 hours left to go on the auction. It will be interesting to see the final selling price.


I kept my eye out and eventually, I  found Boss Shirley’s house at a semi-reasonable price. I can’t remember now what I paid since it’s been almost a year, but it was nowhere near the prices I’m currently seeing on eBay.

Christmas Table Setting, Christmas Vacation Movie Theme


So, this year we’re going back to Clark’s neighborhood. There are two new additions to this year’s Christmas Vacation table setting, so the folks sitting on the right side of the table will have more to see than just the backs of the houses, although the backs are kinda pretty, as well.

Oops, I see a moose cup trying to wander away. lol I kept moving pieces to get better photos of the scenes. It’s easy to see the scenes when dining at the table, but a bit harder when just looking at photos.

Christmas Table, Christmas Vacation Movie Theme


Clark is still at it, trying to get those stubborn Christmas lights to light up!

Christmas Vacation Table Setting


Cousin Eddie is nearby, beer in hand cheering him on.

Christmas Vacation Movie Table


The lights may not work but at least Clark has found the perfect Christmas tree for this year’s family Christmas.

Christmas Vacation, Clark's Christmas Tree


Uh, oh. Margo and Todd have just arrived home and Margo doesn’t look too happy about Eddie’s fancy RV parked out front.

Cousin Eddie, Dept. 56 Christmas Vacation


Looks like she’s on the phone right now with their local Homeowner’s Association. lol

Margo & Todd, Christmas Vacation Movie


On the other side of town, or in this case, the other side of the table…

Christmas Table, Christmas Vacation Movie Theme, Dept. 56 Lit Houses Centerpiece


…there’s a lot happening on Melody Lane where Clark’s boss lives. Looks like Boss Shirley is in a bit of a bind!

Christmas Vacation Movie Tablescape


After Boss Shirley stiffs Clark out of his yearly Christmas bonus, Cousin Eddie decides to grant Clark his one Christmas wish: Boss Shirley brought from his happy, holiday slumber to “right here with a big ribbon on his head.” Ha! It’s one of the funniest scenes in the movie, for sure!

Boss Shirley's House, Christmas Vacation Movie, Dept. 56


Next door we find the Belmont & Co. department store. Who’s that we see inside?

Belmont & Co. Dept. Store Lit House, Christmas Vacation Movie


Oh, it’s just Rusty catching Clark in the act of flirting with the sales girl behind the counter. Ooops!

Clark and Rusty in Belmont & Co. Department Store, Christmas Vacation Movie


For this fun table setting, I’m mixing plaids and paisley for our napkins. Reindeer napkin rings work well with this whimsical themed table.

Reindeer Napkin Rings, Rudolph


Snowman plates are acting as our appetizer plate. I’ve had these for years but I saw them recently in a HomeGoods while out shopping, so maybe they are back again this year.

The adorable moose mugs used in this table setting (like those seen in the movie) are available here: Moose Mugs. I bought the non-breakable version for my two grandchildren and they can be found here: Non-breakable Moose Mugs.

Snowman Appetizer Plates, Hallmark CR


Love these Better Homes and Gardens salad plates depicting a woody car bringing home the Christmas tree. These just seemed fitting for this table for some reason. 😉 You’ll find them available again this year, here: Woody Car.

Better Homes & Garden Woody Car Bringing Home the Christmas Tree


The dinner plate is also from Better Homes and Gardens.

Better Homes & Garden Christmas Dinnerware-China


A view with the chandelier turned down low…

Christmas Vacation Lit Table Centerpiece


Clark finally got those lights working!

Red Dining Room with Christmas Table Setting, Dept. 56 Lit Centerpiece


A view with all the lights off, even the lights in the entryway are turned off.

Christmas Vacation Centerpiece, Dept. 56 Lit Houses


Whenever I create a table setting with a lit centerpiece, I often get questions about how it’s lit. In this case, I brought all the cords together behind the houses, then I opened up the table in the center, separating the two halves just enough to get the cords through. I pushed the two halves of the table back together as tightly as I could without damaging the cords. I sprinkled snow all over the cords running back behind the houses so they are not visible.


Then I covered the gap in the table with a bit of masking tape and sprinkled more snow over that. I snapped this photo before fully covering it so I could share how it looks.

Underneath the table, all the electrical cords are plugged into a power strip and the single cord from the power strip runs out from under the table to the outlet under the sideboard. In the past when I’ve used a similar centerpiece for Christmas, I’ve tapped that cord down to the floor with masking tape t0 ensure no one tripped over it.


The candle burning over on the sideboard is another Woodwick candle, the kind that makes a wonderful crackling, fireplace sound. I’m so addicted to these candles! The scent for this one is called Crimson Berries and you’ll find it available here: Crimson Berries.

Woodwick Hearthwick Crimson Berries Candle in Red Mercury Glass Container


Merry Christmas to you from the Griswold Family. And me!

Christmas Table Setting, Christmas Vacation Movie Theme


Looking forward to the beautiful tables linked for this week’s Tablescape Thursday!

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  1. It’s a beauty, Clark!!! Wow!! who would have guessed that purchasing those houses would be such a fun investment!!! Your table is so fun, love it!

  2. Cyndi Raines says

    Too cute! Great table! Crazy prices on those houses, wow! Glad you were able to get the one at a Classy Flea at such a bargain! I think you should put up your other houses on the buffet, lol. Like you don’t have enough to do, hehe. Show them all off!

  3. Absolute enchanting, Susan! Beautiful.

  4. Regality (aka The Quing) says

    As terrific as this table is, your original “houses” one is still my favorite. And my second favorite? The snowy tablecloth/feeding the birdies one. So inventive.

  5. Amazing! I love everythingYou have such a good eye for detail, like all the little figurines. Isn’t it fun to find a bargain item and see another one later selling for an outrageous price?! Merry Christmas

  6. Thanks for the smile, Susan. LOVE Xmas Vacation! I wonder if Chevy has the collection? -Brenda-

    P.S.: Its been awhile since we had a Quake, however we did have six tornadoes touch down a few months ago which was very unusual and caused severe damage to many areas.

    • lol That would be funny if he did! 🙂 Wow! You must be getting all our tornadoes because we usually have several come through each spring and we haven’t had any in a few years. I haven’t had to go hang out in the basement in a long time. Hope you don’t get any more of those!

  7. I never had any idea that the Christmas houses would be so valuable! I gave all of mine away. Thanks for another lovely party and all the great tips too!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  8. Helen Peterson says

    I still adore your older double-sided layout and keep it in my idea file. I have approximately 25 houses (2-3 are Dept. 56) plus accessories collected over decades scattered around my small home, plus a 1:12 scale dollhouse that I assembled from a kit. Time to get out the dust cloths, check/replace the little bulbs and decorate for Christmas/New Years. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Oh how I would love to have these Christmas Vacation houses and accessories! That is our family’s favorite movie and we watch it every single year. Love Love Susan!

    • Jenna, the Griswold house is still available at pretty normal prices on Amazon and eBay. I’m not sure if Dept. 56 still carries it. Keep an eye out on eBay and hopefully, you’ll see some decent prices on the other pieces once Christmas has passed.

  10. In case you are interested, Zulily has Dept. 56 up to 65% off today.

  11. THE most entertaining centerpiece ever!

  12. Barbara Haunton says

    I’ve limited myself to one 3-story townhouse with three matching trees.

    Yesterday about 4:15 I woke up to an odd feeling and some wall creaking. I walked to the living room and found my birthday gift wrap had fallen out of the antique Shaker chair where it was displayed. I thought it had something to do with the weather, decided it was a mystery, and went back to bed.

  13. When I read your posts and have a question, it’s like you read my mind. I was wondering how you hide the cords! I love the plates, especially the snowman. The napkin holders are cute and go with the fun table. It’s so pretty when the lights are dim!

  14. Sandra D in Joliet says

    I love the tablescape as usual-so much fun! I love the Dickensville buildings I have & will have to be content with them. That’s one of my fav movies though. I want a set of the station wagon plates and hope they have them next year as I can’t buy anything this year. I’ve never noticed that candle before-I’m putting that in my wishlist for next year-where did you get the mercury glass holder for it? Love that too. So much fun and beauty “visiting” you. Have a happy day

    • I have a few of the Dickens Village too…it’s sooo cute!
      The candle actually came in that mercury glass holder. I’m not sure if anyone still has them since I think they are a special edition for Christmas. Probably the best place to check is Yankee Candle. They carry the Woodwick candles so they may have some of the special ones in stock.

  15. linda c Burwell says

    Susan, l love those Woodwick candles too and they don’t bring on my allergies like some other candles do. I have the car salad plates and the dinner plates too! Wal-Mart puts out new theme every year but l have run out of space in my small apt.! I just love your tablescape!

  16. Love all your tablescapes! But where do you STORE all your stuff????

  17. You seem never to run out of ideas or things with which to create a table. Amazing!

  18. That is such a fun, conversational tablescape. Love that capitalistic spirit on eBay! My family would have a blast at that table. I am trying to keep my sanity about hosting Christmas Eve family dinner, but keep waking up in the middle of the night, not by earthquakes, just those in my mind about how I’m going to seat nearly 40 guests and park 15 cars at my house on the river (where the goose like to let loose; might have to recommend guests wear Cousin Eddie boots, lol). If I’ve counted to 40 once, I’ve counted a zillion times. One thing’s for sure – I have enough plates, if I don’t take a shortcut and use paper goods.
    Thanks so much for keeping us inspired, Susan. And grounded. Like Clark.

    • lol Yes, the capitalist spirit is alive and well on eBay. I can’t blame them…if they can get what they’re asking, why not?!
      Wow! I think the most I ever had for Christmas dinner was 25. I know if anyone can pull it off, you can, Rita! Good luck with that parking…I like the idea of folks wearing Cousin Eddie’s boots. lol Yay for having lots of dishes! Comes in really handy sometimes. 🙂

  19. What a beautiful setting. The idea is great. I love those houses and those plates are gorgeous. You did such a beautiful job. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you and yours a Blessed Christmas and a Happy,Healthy and Peaceful 2019.
    Marilyn and Family

  20. Susan Craft Jones says

    Hi Susan – Glad you are safe. The table setting is amazing but I was wondering where the red flatware came from?? I’m in Dayton and hope your son can take you to Clifton Mill for their lights. Amazing! Actually it won last week on The Great Light Fight with Carter Oosterhouse on tv. Bet the kids would love it!!

    • Oh, I should have linked out to that in the post. I can’t remember if this is the red flatware I purchased at Pier 1 years ago or not, but it’s available online here: https://amzn.to/2LgdPHS
      I don’t recommend washing it in the dishwasher since it has plastic handles. I always wash mine by hand and it has held up well.

  21. Donna zoltanski says

    Snow much fun! I love your creativity! I am sure your guests enjoy dining at your gorgeous tables!

  22. Wow I can’t imagine awaking to the rumbling of an earthquake! Quite the way to start your day!! Love your tablescape. I’ve thought about creating a setting with my village pieces but I wasn’t sure how I’d get power to the houses. Your idea seems to work very well. This table is so festive I’d leave it this way all through the holidays!

    • Definitely don’t recommend it as an alarm clock! I think I’m finally caught up on my sleep again. lol
      Thanks, Liz! I just realized, I forgot to explain what I do after the cords are through the table. I need to go back and add that to the post.
      Merry Christmas to you and your family! Hope you get to see your sweet grandson this Christmas.

  23. Susan, the photos I pin from your blog are always so popular. How could they not be? Of course, I added several more from this post. We also have some Dept. 56 Snow Village houses that we don’t always put on display. I love it when my sweet hubby does get them out, though. Have a wonderful Christmas season, Susan. Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks so much, Daphne! Appreciate you pinning them and love that you enjoy them! ♥
      I know what you mean, they are a bit time-consuming to get out due to how well they are packaged to prevent breakage. It would be fun to have room to just store them all without having to repackage them every time. I love seeing the elaborate displays where folks create entire villages. Just gives me goosebumps thinking about it!

  24. Love the Christmas tablescape, and I’m in serious danger now that I know Dept. 56 makes Christmas Vacation houses and figures! It’s our Christmas eve tradition to watch the movie, and I know my adult kids would go crazy for it.

    • lol I know, that’s how it started with me when I spotted that one little house in A Classy Flea. I couldn’t resist adding a few more after that. We do the same thing, watch it every year while sipping eggnog (spiked and not :)) from moose mugs.

  25. I love this tablescape, so fun and festive! Would make a great evening of dinner and watching the movie. Merry Christmas!

  26. Barbara Haunton says

    Showed this to my daughter, and it inspired her to use my Christmas village townhouse and trees.

  27. Such a cute table! Merry Christmas!

  28. Love,Love,Love your site. I saw a Tablescape that was all glass. You had used the white snow batten, and stretched it over the table for snow. I thought ihad book marked it, but I can’t find it anywhere. Please, please help!! I loved it. Thank you, have a very merry Christmas.

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