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A holiday favorite: Large Christmas village on display in Picayune

Marie Whitman  said she loves putting her village together everywhere. She said hundreds flock to view it and children adore it.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

Marie Whitman said she loves putting her village together everywhere. She said hundreds flock to view it and children adore it.
Photo by Cassandra Favre


It’s an annual tradition for some families. Along with the Christmas tree, decorative outside lights and garland, a Nativity scene or Christmas village display contributes to the warmth and spirit of the season.
According to familychristmasonline.com, the tradition of setting up holiday villages dates back to the era of the European Renaissance. The earliest Christmas villages were Nativity displays in homes and churches.
For the third year in a row, Picayune resident Marie Whitman has displayed her elaborate and extensive Whitmanville Christmas Village.
Spanning more than eighty feet and comprised of about 1,000 pieces, this display is sure to delight and inspire awe in people of all ages.
Whitman received her first piece, a train, almost 22 years ago.
“Since then, I have been collecting pieces through Ebay and some pieces have been given to me,” Whitman said. “I didn’t want my village to look like everyone else’s so I researched on YouTube and found none that were set up like a town. I set out to make village pieces resemble a town.”
Whitman’s town features waterfalls, trains, houses, ice skating rinks, light posts, a zoo, carnival, and figurines depicting people and animals and much more.
Whitman said it takes her about a week and a half to complete the town’s setup.
“I can sit here and tinker with it all day,” Whitman said. “I love showing it to people. This is my good accomplishment for my community and that’s a great feeling.”
Whitman is also the proprietor of Creations by Marie Antoinette. She creates one-of-a kind theater dolls, which have been featured in a Somerset magazine.
For the past two years, the Whitmanville Christmas Village was housed in the train depot. However, due to the fact that her town has grown, she needed a larger building.
This year the Rotary Club of Picayune is sponsoring Whitman’s Christmas Village.
The Christmas town can be viewed at the former Checkered Lily building located at 127 W. Canal St. by appointment and during citywide holiday events.
Whitman will be open during Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Christmas on the Rails and Shop by Candlelight on Dec. 5 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
A complete itinerary is posted on the front door of the former Checkered Lily building.
Contact Whitman by phone at 601-799-1093 to schedule a tour.
Learn more about Whitman and her theater dolls at www.etsy.com/shop/marieantionette.