We sponsor "56 on The Square" a local Department
56 collectors club. Call the store for information.
104 Cass Street - On Historic Woodstock Square,
Woodstock, IL 815-338-5651
About 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 small, old-fashioned village
decorated for the holidays. The lights, like fairies, glowed and sparkled
amid the freshly fallen snow. All evening, the conversation was full of
Christmas memories and the visions the tiny town had evoked. Amidst the
jovial banter and magical memories, the idea for a lighted Christmas village
was born. That spark of an idea became a reality when, in 1976, Department
56 introduced a series of six hand-painted, ceramic buildings. The rest is
The company behind the villages.
Some twenty-five years ago, Department 56 began as part of Bachman's, a
premiere retail florist in Minneapolis. Bachman's used a numbering system to
identify each of its departments. The number assigned to 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 our hand-crafted lighted villages, Snowbabies™ figurines and
extensive lines of holiday and home decorative products.
The building of a village: An historic events calendar.
The foundation of Department 56 took shape with the introduction of six
charming, lighted, ceramic buildings. These six premiere items were the
beginnings of The Original Snow Village®.
The original Original Snow Village designs were retired in order to
accommodate 12 new introductions as well as the appearance of the first
The concept of The Heritage Village Collection® was developed. The first
release was The Dicken's Village Series®, a collection of seven nostalgic
shops and a church. All designed to capture the spirit of Christmas in
The New England Village Series and The Alpine Village Series® were added to
The Heritage Village Collection. That same year, the world of Snowbabies™
bisque figurines was introduced.
The Heritage Village collection continued to grow with the addition of the
hustle and bustle of Christmas in the City® and the inspiring Little Town of
Department 56 reached $56 million in sales and found it necessary to expand
into a new 150,000 sq. ft. distribution center.
The legend of Santa became a part of the Department 56 tradition with the
addition of The North Pole Series™ to The Heritage Village Collection.
On June 25, we opened our new corporate headquarters at One Village Place in
Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Department 56 is bought by the New York investment firm, Forstmann Little.
In June of this year, Department 56 completed an initial offering and was
listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "DFS".
This year brought the introduction of The Disney Parks Village Series™ and
Our first successful marketing program, "Homes for the Holidays", encouraged
new collectors to start a tradition for themselves.
We introduced our website which still serves as a definitive source for
product and retailer information.
The 10th anniversary of Snowbabies was celebrated with the creation of the
Snowbabies Freindship Club™. The Classic Ornament Series was also
introduced, giving collectors a new way to enjoy classic pieces long since
The first year-round village, Seasons Bay™, makes a splash onto the
marketplace, representing a late 19th-century American resort town. Elf
Land™, an extension of the North Pole Series™, was also introduced as a
suburb where the elves lived and played after the holidays.
In May, the first-ever corporate retail store opened in the Mall of America
in Bloomington, Minnesota, a move that enhanced both brand and product
profile. And for the first time, Department 56 introduced pieces that
included exquisite interior detail.
Another big year for expansion. In October, we opened a second retail store
in the new Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our first magazine insert,
Tablescapes, also hit the newsstands. It featured new and imaginative ways
to use Village pieces, Snowbabies and general giftware as a part of home
This year, Department 56 and The Original Snow Village® Collection both
turned 25. To commemorate those twenty-five wonderful years, we invited all
our friends and collectors from across the United States and Canada to a
spectacular Silver Anniversary Celebration in St. Paul, Minnesota. Many
special edition pieces and limited items were designed just for this
momentous occasion. A grand time was had by all.
Department 56 is a major force in the giftware and collectible industry. As
we look to the future, we plan to actively explore new avenues for growth.
Rest assured, our artists are constantly busy coming up with new and unique
ways to pique your interest. And touch the collector's heart in everyone.
ALPINE VILLAGE, CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY, DICKENS' VILLAGE, MERCURY GLASS, NEW
ENGLAND VILLAGE, NORTH POLE, SNOW VILLAGE, SNOWBABIES, SNOWBUNNIES, WINTER