It Takes a Village: Utah Valley’s must-see Christmas village


watts-christmas-village-wSometimes, it takes a village to bring the spirit of Christmas. At least that’s how Jean and Richard Watts of Pleasant Grove feel about it.

For the past 25 years, they’ve been collecting Department 56 Christmas village pieces, buying several new additions each Christmas season.

watts-christmas-village-02w“This is the first year since we started collecting that we haven’t bought a new piece,” Jean said, later confessing that she did buy a few additional miniature trees to scatter around the display.

At first the Watts displayed their village on their dining room table. When the collection outgrew it, they added a plywood addition, and eventually moved it to a custom-built plywood platform. They’re now on their second custom platform, which offers even more space for the 90 buildings in their collection today.

“We have a barber shop, police and fire stations, restaurants, cabins, houses and even a Harley Davidson store,” Jean said, “not to mention all the people and streetlights.”

The village also includes a carousel that plays music and a train that moves through town.

watts-christmas-village-03w“All the pieces have such character,” Jean said. “There’s a house with a little swing that I love and another where you can see a sweet family sitting inside. It just brings Christmas alive.”

Richard, who co-owns Watts Automotive in American Fork with his son, is as excited about his outdoor light display as he is about his impressive village. The 95,000 lights on the Watt’s home draw plenty of visitors to their driveway. The village draws visitors to their door.

“Anyone is welcome to knock on our door and come check it out,” Jean says. “All we’ll ask is that you take off your shoes.”

And prepare to be in awe.

Watt Home:

851 W. 2800 North Pleasant Grove, UT 84062


Samantha Strong Murphey is a lover of greenery, glitter and goat cheese, an advocate of media literacy, human rights and karaoke for all. She earned bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University and is a former writer and editor at Utah Valley Magazine. Now, she works as a full-time freelance writer and blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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