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The Suburbanite
  • Twin brothers have more than 400 village pieces in Christmas collection

  • Tom and Tim Wilzoch, of Perry Township, have more than 400 pieces in their Christmas village collection.
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  • Some people collect coins or baseball cards or even classic cars. Tom and Tim Wilzoch collect villages. And these Perry Township twins have a whopping 400 pieces in their collection that they put up in their home each year at the holidays.
    Setting up hundreds of little ceramic buildings, arranging miniature figures to act out whimsical scenes, and painstakingly hiding wires leading to each building to light its windows may sound exhausting to some people.
    On the contrary, the Wilzoch brothers say their hobby is somewhat of a stress-reliever. They get to leave their daily stresses and worries out on a tiny ceramic doormat and enter a world with comical characters of the North Pole, or visit Victorian England in Charles Dickens' time.
    "It takes your mind off of the world," Tom Wilzoch said. "It brings out the kid in you."
    The brothers Wilzoch are two of the four owners of Perry Distributors Inc., a home improvement company. After the Wilzochs get home from work, countless hours are put in arranging the villages. They begin working on the displays each October. The villages usually stay up until the Super Bowl in January, Tom Wilzoch said.
    VILLAGE SCENES
    Most of the little houses, churches, businesses and government buildings have windows aglow thanks to a light bulb inside the hollow ornament, and one even has wisps of smoke coming up through the chimney. Many of the villages are animated with things turning or moving, and a train rolls through one village. Running water flows down a gentle waterfall in the New England village, which is forever suspended in the fall season. Tiny skaters appear to be having fun on a frozen pond. Gravel and artificial leaves are scattered carefully along paths lining the villages.
    Most of the villages are Department 56 products. The brothers have every piece of the North Pole and New England village series.
    It all began with their parents back in the 1990s, who purchased Victoria Station in the Dickens Village. It grew from there. The Wilzochs' mother also enjoyed painting ceramics and they have some beautiful hand-painted Christmas plates and other items.
    This made gift-giving easy for the brothers and they were able to add buildings to their parents' collection.
    "We figured we can give them a piece every year," Tom Wilzoch said.
    Now the brothers are carrying on the tradition and half a dozen villages and other gatherings of a series of ornaments fill their home.
    "They left them to us," he said. "It's fun. We're always looking for things to add to it."
    The Wilzochs add a few pieces each year. Others share their interest and the brothers are part of an Ohio Department 56 club called the Buckeye 56'ers. The collectors tour each other's homes.
    Page 2 of 2 - "At one time they were considered collectibles," Tom Wilzoch said. "We do it now for the fun of it."
    Each year, Tim Wilzoch has the task of taking the buildings, little people and other ornamental figures out of their boxes. Tom Wilzoch is in charge of carefully arranging all the buildings and covering the wires with a blanket of cotton that resembles fluffy snow, or other materials.
    They constructed tables that are put up to accommodate entire villages. Other villages are on shelves or the mantle. One of the most noticeable and imaginative displays is a huge rotating Christmas tree that displays the North Pole village on different tiers and speakers play music.
    "Some people collect cars, and we collect villages," Tom Wilzoch said.
    Reach Christina at 330-775-1133
    or christina.mccune@indeonline.com.
    On Twitter: @cmccuneINDE