Charles Dickens, in a Preface to The Christmas Carol

“I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly.......” Charles Dickens, in a Preface to A Christmas Carol

Friday, October 28, 2011

Village Landlords' Anniversary Celebrations: Bill and Debbie King's Open House and the Landlords' Halloween Display Competition

Village Landlords of the Ft. Lauderdale Area
20th Anniversary Cake, 2011
The Village Landlords of the Fort Lauderdale area have been busy celebrating 20 years as a collectors club,  and they have been celebrating in fine fashion.  Members Debbie and Bill King hosted a gala open house for club members,  and then the Landlords had a Halloween display contest with 14 of their members participating.  Here's how the festivities played out!

Debbie and Bill King of the
Village Landlords of Ft. Lauderdale, FL

According to Jerry Fernon, Program Chairman for the Village Landlords, Bill and Debbie King's Open Houses are always very well attended, because they go the extra mile to provide great food and fabulous village displays.  The 20th Anniversary Halloween Spectacular was no exception.

Created by Bill and Debbie King

With as many as 12 different Halloween displays, the Kings demonstrated their imagination and creativity.  Here are just a few of my favorites.  First, there was the Snow Village Halloween's "Helga's House of Fortunes," featuring Helga herself as a commanding presence over the display.  Anyone who wants to join Helga this Halloween can get a hat and cape at the "Costumes for Sale" shop.   Do you see "Madame Zelda at Work," on the left of the display?  Nice tree, too.

Created by Bill and Debbie King

Another great display, among many, was the suitably creepy "Dead Creek Mill," which featured not only the limited collector's edition building of the Snow Village Halloween series, but the "Dead Creek Mill Delivery," the creepy car crash.  Notice the abominable slime man in front of the mill.  On the right, one skeleton takes a break with his foot resting on a pumpkin.  Only he would be that comfortable here.

Created by Bill and Debbie King

The "Ghoul School" has all the elements of Halloween.  The school is appropriately dilapidated, and the "Little Ghouls' Field Trip" features the teacher leading the rather idiosyncratic students along, clinging to a rope. On the right is the "Spooky Farmhouse," with the American Gothic derivative farmers, with a warning, "Strangers Beware."

Created by Bill and Debbie King

While the Kings made many more displays, I am going to feature just one more here:  the homage to a Mickey Mouse Halloween.  Of course, the Kings included "Mickey's Haunted House," but they topped it with Mickey pumpkin ears!  Even better, they carved a Mickey-o-Lantern, and added Pluto wearing a pirate's hat and carrying a pumpkin to hold trick-or-treats.  There are just so many more details....

Required items for the Village Landlords
competition displays, assembled by Jerry Fernon

The Village Landlords club also celebrated their anniversary with a display competition.  Jerry Fernon, the Program Director for the club, asked members to create display vignettes about 12" X 12" in size (or just a little larger) using whatever buildings, accessories and materials they wished, as long as they also included some specific items, which Jerry provided to participants:  two skeletons, a coffin, fencing, a cauldron, apples, and white material that looks like either ice or water.

The response was overwhelming.  Fourteen displays were completed and entered into the contest!

First Place, Village Landlords
Halloween Display Competition,
Created by Susan Roberts

...And the winner was Susan Roberts! Her imaginative display included a really scary tree covered with dried Spanish moss and embellished with pumpkins, bats, a witch's hat and broom, and a hissing black cat.  Suspended from a limb is a tire, in which is ghost is swinging.  Notice the snake starting to slither down the rope!  Something creepy, maybe a gecko, is crawling over the coffin coming out from behind the tree.  The requisite skeletons are there, along with a cyclopean monster and a werewolf. A ghoulishly great piece, worthy of first place.

Tie for Second Place, Village Landlords Halloween Display Competition,
Created by Gisela Suarez

There was a tie for second place between Gisela Suarez and Mei-Hua Paige.  Gisela's display is shown above, a graveyard scene outside a spooky house.  The two skeletons are soaking in spas containing the required "water" element; one is using the cauldron for a spa, and the other is relaxing in a coffin hot tub!  Their guest, a skeleton "hottie" herself, is sitting nearby, dressed in Halloween finery.  One of my favorite details is the half-buried skelton in the center of the yard.  I also like the top window, where you can see the feet of someone that must be dangling from a rafter inside.  I don't think he is holding on to the rope with his hands!!  Netting surrounds the whole display, the required fence is in front, and creepy cobwebby tree branches overhang the scene. Scary Skeleton fun.

Tie for Second Place, Village Landlords Halloween Display Competition,
Created by Mei-Hua Paige.
Mei-Hua entered a humorous Halloween display that tied with Gisela for second place.  The center of her display was a totem-like skull, which is bleeding through a gash in its head, and out of its eyes, nose, and mouth.  The skull is producing so much blood, in fact, that it is pooling on the rocks and dripping down.....ooooohhhhh.  A gargoyle is perched on the skull, and to either side are skeleton candelabra.  The two required skeletons are bobbing for apples in the cauldron, a amusing touch.  Another skeleton is bursting out of the coffin, and, very creepily, a fourth skeleton has been jammed uncomfortably into a coffin the graveyard. A series of "candles" and gargoyles delineates the perimeter of the lava-looking base.

Happy Anniversary to the Village Landlords!  Congratulations to Bill and Debbie King for their popular and successful Open House, and to all the participants in the display contest, particularly Susan Roberts, Gisela Suarez and Mei-Hua Paige.  Finally, thanks to Jerry Fernon for providing the information and pictures.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Department 56 Villagers: Celebrating 20 Years with Cakes and Displays

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, Dear Villagers,
Happy birthday to you!

Department 56 Villagers of Central Pennsylvania

Dept. 56 Villagers of Central Pennsylvania,
20th Anniversary Cake,
Created by Gina Aiello

The Dept. 56 Villagers of Central Pennsylvania are celebrating, as well they should:  Twenty years as a club, and they are going strong!  In fact, at every meeting this year the club is celebrating with special birthday cakes, like the one to the right, created by member Gina Aiello.  The cake's cottage, with its rough-hewn roof, paved path, and near-by doghouse is very appropriate for a village collecting club.

Created by Lottie Clinedinst

During the September meeting the club held a display contest that demonstrated the diversity and creativity of Department 56 collecting.  This display, created by Lottie Clinedinst, is a Halloween piece appropriately placed in a witch's cauldron.  Bubble, bubble, trouble.....  The display features the Dept. 56 Snow Village Halloween "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" (which can describe any number of us at our ages!)  Also included are Adams Family-like characters from "Bats in my Belfry," a delicious piece.  Note the lovely eyeball tree (all the better to see you with, my dear...) and the car with pumpkin hubcaps!

Created by Peg and Sam Samsak
The Department 56 Snow Village Halloween's "Haunted Mansion," introduced in  1998, anchors this halloween display, complete with a horseman carrying his pumpkin head.  Peg and Sam Samsak created this piece, which includes "A Vampire's Best Friend," who is walking his vamp, or is the vamp flying his crow?   The scene is set on a quilted pumpkin and another quilt provides the front-drop, while the candied corn invites the viewer in for a closer look.

"Auf zum Oktoberfest,"
Created by Margaret Grundig

Nothing says "autumn" like Oktoberfest, and nothing says "Oktoberfest" like this display created by Margaret Grundig!  The Kukuck Uhren, "Clock Shop," on the left, has such a distinctive Alpine roofline, steep and swooping so that snow slides off.  By the way, the name Kukuck is a play on the work Kuckucks, which means cuckoo in German.  So, change just a few letters, and  the building's name "Clock Shop" becomes "Cuckoo Clocks."  The building on the right is the Besson Bierkeller.  Note the regional flags over the Bierkeller's entrance.  The blue and white one is very similar to that of Zurich.  The scene is complete with an Oompapa band, steins of beer, and a stork on the roof!

Created by Mary Lou Evans
Mary Lou Evans was the creator of the festive "Pin Trader Shop," which is festooned with dozens of trading pins that lie on the table, flow up the steps, and spill into the floral arrangement behind.   Do you recognize any of the pins?  How about the Village Express Event Pin that is on the green bench?  Or the Nicholas Nickleby pin on the far right just above the date stamp?  One of my favorite parts of this arrangement is the fall floral spray that transforms a Christmas building into one for autumn.  The yellow berries in the flower arrangement pick up the yellow of the dormer windows, and the green in the arrangement picks up the pine swag draped on the second story of the building, along with the everygreen trees in the front.  Even the building's roof colors are picked up in the display.

Created by Gina Aiello
This Fall Scene, created by Gina Aiello, features the Dickens Village "Hedgerow Garden Cottage."  Fall is in the air, leaves are dropping from the trees, and pumpkins are ripe.  The city lamplighter is lighting the gas lamps earlier, since the days are shorter.  This is good, because whoever drives that good-looking car may need light to walk along the brick path, through the ornate wrought iron fence, past the dog, and onto the porch of this friendly cottage.

Thanks to Mary Lou Evans for providing me these wonderful pictures of the cakes and the displays, along with a list of  their creators.  We hope the Department 56 Villagers continue to have fabulous and tasty 20th anniversary celebrations!
Department 56 Villagers Birthday Cake,
Provided by Kathy and Jim Seker

Monday, October 17, 2011

Department 56 2011 Collector of the Year: Bonne Eichholtz!

Bonnie Eichholtz,
Department 56 2011 Collector of the Year,
.....just escaped.....

Congratulations to Bonnie Eichholtz, the Department 56 2011 Collector of the Year!  The announcement of her selection was made at the Arizona Happy Trails Gathering in late September by Melinda Seegers, Customer Services Manager for Department 56.

Train Wreck Display, Halloween Display,
by Bonnie Eichholtz

Bonnie is Secretary of the Village Landlords Collector Club in Ft. Lauderdale.  She is also a village collector extraordinaire, and these pictures of her displays will tell you much about her creativity, wit, artistry, and organizational abilities.

Jerry Fernon, Program Director for Village Landlords, sent me the following article that lets everyone know how their club values the new Collector of the Year, Bonnie Eichholtz:

Williamsburg Display,
by Bonnie Eichholtz

"As most of us, Bonnie received her first Department 56 house as a gift, and it mushroomed from there.  She now collects New England Village, Snow Village, Halloween, and the new Williamsburg Village.

Snow Village Display,
by Bonnie Eichholtz

"Bonnie has opened her home for our members to enjoy her creative Christmas displays.....

Halloween Display,
by Bonnie Eichholtz

"...and her extensive Halloween village, which she showcases in a life-size casket and a life-size replica of the Dickens Village "All Hallows Eve"  Horse Drawn Hearse, made by her son.

Black Widow and other elements of the Halloween Display,
by Bonnie Eichholtz

"Since joining our club in 2001, Bonnie has served a four-year term as our secretary.  When her term was finished, she  became our hospitality chairperson.  Bonnie is once again serving as our secretary, but still helps with hospitality.  When we lost our meeting location, Bonnie found us a new place, and she makes sure that it is available and ready for each meeting.

Halloween Display by Bonnie Eichholtz

"Bonnie volunteered to help with our annual picnic and has organized it for the last six years, from getting the location, order and picking up the food the club provides, to the dishes people bring.

Halloween Display by Bonnie Eichholtz

"For the past four years or so we have been doing a Toys-For-Tots drive at our November meeting.  Bonnie takes the toys home, counts them, organizes them and delivers them to the Toys-for-Tots location.

Halloween Display,
by Bonnie Eichholtz

"She has volunteered many times to make a vignette for a special raffle, with the proceeds going to one of our charities.  Bonnie never says no.

Department 56 2011 Collector of the Year,
Bonnie Eichholtz, with her husband Ron

"Bonnie is the true definition of a volunteer.  She is always ready to do anything to benefit our club and the charities we support, and she does it all with a smile on her face, and wanting no thanks in return."

Many thanks to Jerry Fernon for sending the copy and the pictures, and to his other club members for their support of this article.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Great Halloween Pumpkin Stew Recipe--Enhanced with Images of Department 56 and Lemax Halloween

Lemax Collection,
"Broom Dealership," #14326

I admit it, right here, in the first sentence.  I do not display, nor do I collect, Halloween village pieces. (Storage issues!)  That does not mean, however, that I did not drop by Michaels on Saturday to see their Lemax Halloween display.  I did, and it tickled me green.  I liked several of the pieces, especially the Rest in Peace Railroad and the Broom Dealership. Broom Dealership

Lemax Collection,
"Broomstick Manor," #289284

What made me chuckle the most, however, was Broomstick Manor.  The house is suitably creepy with heavy stone construction, a warning to beware of witches landing, and crossed broomsticks and a candleabra above the dormer window.  But even better are the little details.  Instead of a welcome sign, tacked on the door is a warning:  A Curse on All Who Enter!  Next to the front stoop is another sign, hung with chains:  Beware of Kitty.  Good idea, that suggestion, because on the stoop is a kitty carnivorous with every hair standing out in ferociousness....a really kitty creature!  The best detail may be the green witch washing her cloths on top of the turret.  On the clothes line hang pants, red and white striped socks, and ....are those pink bloomers?  This witch wears pink bloomers!!!

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Jack's Pumpkin Carving Studio," 54600
Since I don't decorate for Halloween with villages, then what do I do for this holiday?  Well, almost every year, when the pumpkins are ripe, I put on my perpetually like-new apron and make a really delicious pumpkin stew, which I serve from the pumpkin itself, which I place in the middle of the table during dinner.

Here is the recipe!  Don't let the ingredients list put you off.  Nothing is exotic, and it makes a lot of stew that can be reheated or frozen.  The only hard part is cleaning out the pumpkin, but you do that for jack-o-lanterns!!

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"1031 Trick-Or-Treat Drive," #55343

I think it would be really cute if you surrounded the pumpkin stew pumpkin with some of your Dept. 56 or Lemax Halloween buildings and accessories, nestled among red and orange and brown fall leaves.  I'll sprinkle some additional pictures of halloween pieces with the recipe, to give you inspiration.

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Pick Your Own Pumpkin," #55244

Pumpkin Stew
A 10-12 lb. pumpkin
¼ C butter
½ C brown sugar
3Tbl. cinnamon
2Tbl. olive oil
2 lbs. lean stew beef
3 Tbl. brandy
1 C onion, chopped
½ C green pepper, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 C beef stock
1 C sherry
3 medium tomatoes, chopped

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Preparing for Halloween," #54982

1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. oregano
1-1/2 lb. White potatoes, ½ inch cubes
1-1/2 lb. Sweet potatoes, ½ inch cubes
½ lb. zucchini, ¼ inch slice
3 ears corn, cut in 1-inch rounds
12-16 dried apricots
12-16 prunes, pitted

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Gross...Pumpkin Guts," #4020236

Prepare the Pumpkin:  About 4 inches down from the stem, slice pumpkin to form a lid about 6-7 inches in diameter.  Clean out inside of pumpkin.  Brush inside of shell with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Harvest Mailbox," #53169

Replace lid on top, set on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 45 min., or until almost tender, but not too soft.  Reserve juices from pumpkin to add to the stew.  (I also scrape out some of the pumpkin meat to put in the stew.  Be careful you don't take too much from any one place, or the  pumpkin skin will become too thin and it will crumple during the final baking. Then you can't serve out of it!)

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Building the Scarecrow," #55203

Prepare the stew:  In large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add beef cut into 1-inch cubes and brown on all sides.  Transfer to a bowl and pour off any fat.  Add brandy and bring to a boil.  

Add and simmer onion, green onion, green pepper, and garlic about 5 min.  Pour in beef stock and sherry and boil briskly, scraping up the cooked bits on the bottom.  Return meat and pumpkin juices to the pan and stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, oregano, and pepper.  Cover pan and simmer over low heat for 15 min.  

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Gathering the Pumpkins," #55200

Add white and sweet potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes.  Cook for 15 min. more.  

Stir in Zucchini and cook add’l 10 min. (This is when I add the pumpkin “meat’ with potatoes,etc.  It provides a nice flavor and thickens the stew.)  

Add corn, dried apricots, and prunes.  Cook covered for 5 min. Place pumpkin shell on an oven-proof platter.  Spoon stew into pumpkin shell, replace lid and bake 15 min. Serve the stew from the pumpkin.  Everyone will love it.

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Halloween Pumpkin Stand," # 52956

Vegetarian Option--I have made this stew without meat as often as with meat.  I just substitute 2 pounds of additional vegetables for the 2 pounds of stew beef.  If you use zucchini or other "soft" veggies, be sure and add them just before you add the apricots and prunes, so they don't wilt.  If you use additional white or sweet potatoes or carrots, of course, you add them when potatoes are called for in the recipe.

Dept. 56, Snow Village Halloween,
"Spooky Farmhouse," #55315

Many Thanks to Nancy Allen, who shared this recipe with the PEO Chapter OY, who published it in their unbelievably fabulous cookbook, Stars...Stellar Recipes.  In the book Nancy recounts a dinner party, which I attended, where the pumpkin theme was complemented by white chocolate Cinderella slippers for dessert, filled with champagne. What a event dinner event that was. Unfortunately for cooks, gourmet and those like me, the book is no longer in print.  If you can't find it, keep looking. If you would like a copy of the Pumpkin Stew recipe in a Word document, please email me. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Part Two: Popular Toys by Decade, from 1960-2010, with Buildings from Dept. 56 and Lemax

(If you haven't seen Part One:  Popular Toys, please scroll down to the Archive.  Click on September.  A new screen will come up, and you have to scroll down to the archive again.  There is a list of articles from September, including Part One on toys.  It chronicles some of the favorite toys from Victoria Times through 1950.)

This blog continues, with popular toys from the 1960's through 2010.  Enjoy!

Dept. 56, North Pole Series,
"North Pole Board Games Factory," p. 389

1960's  This decade sees a continuation of board games and dolls, with just the beginnings of some electronic toys, some manufactured at the "North Pole Board Games Factory!"

1.  Easy Bake Oven-a happy homemaker   image for girls!, 1963
2.  Operation, a board game with a simple     electronic buzzer, 1965
3.  Etch-a-Sketch, 1960
4.  Twister, 1966
5.  GI Joe, dealing with the Vietnam War,  1964
6.  Life, the board game, 1960.  This actually was a game based on a similar one produced exactly 100 years earlier, called The Checkered Game of Life.  It spawned a book called The Game of life:  How to succeed in Real Life No Matter Where You Land.
Dept. 56, North Pole,
"Hot Wheels Custom Car Shop,"  #56784

7.  Hot Wheels, 1967.  Introduced by Mattel in 1968 as a competitor to Matchbox, until Mattel acquired Matchbox in 1996.  The original die-cast cars were about 1:64 scale.  Roughly 10,000 or more different models of Hot Wheel Cars have been produced over the years.  Car makers such as GM, Ford, Chrysler, Ferrari, Mazda, and Toyota have al authorizedHot Wheels to make scale models of their cars.
8.  Ray Guns  Inspired by 1960's science fiction, these guns beeped, whizzed and banged.  They were given in love by parents who wanted to inspire the imagination of their children, then hidden when the kids actually used them to torment their sibs.
( and
Dept. 56, North Pole,
"Marie's Doll Museum," #56408

1.  Cabbage Patch Kids, first created by art student Xavier Roberts, that was introduced in 1978, but became a craze in the 1980's. Parents scrambled to find them in time for Christmas, year after year, unfathomably.  Some found them at the shop at Marie's Doll Museum.
2.  Rubik's Cube, 1974
3.  Pong, from Atari, introduced into arcades in 1972 and homes in 1975.
4.  Star Wars Action Figures, first sold in 1977, inspired by the Star Wars franchise.
5. Battlestar Galactica Figures, based on the 1970's TV show.
Dept. 56, New England Village,
"Anne Shaw Toys," #59390

6. My Baby Beth, topped many Christmas wish-lists, 1978. Parents loved browsing at Anne Shaw Toys for dolls.
7.  Slime, 1976.
8.  Skateboards, 1972, an orthopedist's dream.
9.  Nerf toys, 1990, finally, kids could have a ball indoors.
10.  Pet Rock, 1975.
( &

Lemax Collectibles,
"Toy Emportium," #95825

1.  Care Bears, 1983.  Originally Care Bears was introduced by American Greetings for greeting cards, based on the original artwork by Elena Kucharik. The Toy Emporium had a good selection.
2.  Masters of the Universe, 1981.  The franchise has launched 6 lines of action figures, 4 animated tv series, comic series, and a film. (Source: Wikipedia.)
3.  My Little Pony, 1982 and 3, including Earth, Unicorn, Pegasus, Sea, Rainbow, So-Soft, and Brush n'Glow Ponies, Pony Friends, and Baby Ponies.  Oh, I loved these, and bought so many for my girls.
4. Pound Puppies, released in 1985 in the US by Tonka.  One poll found that 98% of mothers were aware of the brand! Over 5 years the toys generated $300 million in 35 countries. (Source:  Wikipedia and
Dept. 56, North Pole,
"Arctic Game Station," #56779

5.  Nintendo Game Boy, 1989.  Upon its release, it sold its entire shipment of one million units within weeks. (Source:  Wikipedia.) Parents saved money because their kids didn't spend so much time in arcades, like the Arctic Game Station
6. She-Ra, 1985, a Mattel toy line that was marketed through the animated tv series, a spinoff of Filmatron's popular He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series. She-Rah-Rah?)
7.  Teddy Ruxpin, 1985, best--selling toy in 1985 and '86.  It was animated, story-telling bear that featured a cassette deck in his back.
8. Atari's Space Invaders
9.  Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980's  "Heroes in a half shell, Turtle Power!"

Dept. 56, North Pole,
"Polar Roller Rink," #56764

1.  Tamagotchi, 1996, a handheld digital pet. ??? One must ask why??? You hatch an egg (on the digital screen,) give the toy a name, feed it, and raise it, put it to bed, and if it is uncared for, it will die.  Not soon enough.
2.  Rollerblades, late 1980's.  They were originally developed for use by a Russian ice skater who was training on solid ground.  Because the rollers were all in a row, rather than in front and back sets, as in roller skates, rollerblades are also called inline skates.  Rollerblades could be used on sidewalks or in rinks, like the Polar Roller Rink.
3. Beanie Babies, 1993, first introduced 9 animals, a dog, a platypus, a mosse, a bear, a dophin, a frog, a lobster, and whale, and a pig. Only when they retired 11 Beanie Babies in 1996 did they become a collector's item.
Dept. 56, North Pole,
"Sesame Street Building," #56799

4.  Tickle Me Elmo, 1996.  Based on the Sesame Street character Elmo, our red friend at least made you smile.  If you squeezed him once, he chortled.  Squeezed him three times, he shook and laughed hysterically.  And parents lined up in droves for the short supplies!  Fortunately the Sesame Street Building had adequate inventory.
5.  Power Rangers, 1993  This is a whole franchise built around a live action children's tv series featuring costumed heroes.  It has succeeded beyond belief:  19 tv seasons with 16 different series and two films.  Wow.
6.  Teletubbies, 1997.  Again, why?  Why?  A chubby creature with a tv in its stomach? With the names Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po? No.
Lemax Collection,
"Christmas Wonderland Toy Store," # 05070

7.  Magic Eye, 1993-Remember these books, first released in the US by Andrews and McMeel, which spent a total of 73 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List?  They feature patterns that are two dimensional that have a three-dimensional image hidden within.   You have to stare at it, slightly blur your eyes, and hope that your mind takes over and lets you see the 3-d image.  If you would like to see some of these images, try this website:  The Christmas Wonderland Toy Store carried a large, dizzying selection!
8.  POGs, 1991. Game discs I didn't understand then, don't understand now, and don't want to.
9.  Furby, 1998
10.  Bob the Builder, 1998.  If I had a grandkid, boy or girl, this is what I would buy!

(Sources: and Wikipedia.)

Dept. 56, North Pole,
"Robbie's Robot Factory," #799998

2000's-The Decade of Toy Technology.  Sadly, I could find virtually no Christmas Village pieces that reflect this huge part of our lives.
1.  Teksta (Tekno), 2000.  One of the first popular automated robotic dogs, Teksta Puppy walked, barked, talked, and could even learn a few tricks.  He also attracted a lot of buyers....(maybe at Robbie's Robot Factory, to the left!)
2. iPod, 2001.  The iPod fueled a toy revolution, a music revolution, and a stock price explosion.  By 2009, over 220 million iPods had been sold.
3.  Nintendo Wii, 2006.  The Nintendo video game console competes head-on with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, and in 2009 broke the record for the best-selling console in a single month.
Dept. 56, North Pole,
"Santa's Toy Company," #56893

4.  20Q  I listed it in the 200's, because in this decade it was named the top "Electronic Entertainment Toy of the Year," the "Oppenheim Platinum Toy Award," and the Canadian Toy Testing Council's "Energizer Toy of the Year."  20Q asks the player to think of something.  The game then poses a series of 20 questions before making a guess about what the player is thinking, and 98% of the time 20Q is correct!  Santa's Toy Company was the only source for many popular electronic toys.
5.  Zu Zhu Pets, 2009.  More robotic animals, but this time a hamster that coos and purrs and explores and runs.  The Pets, with names like Chunk, PipSqueak, Mr. Squiggles, and Num Nums, were also sold with sets of customized habitats.

6.  Leapfrog Leapster, 2003.  A best-selling education hand-held device aimed at 4-10 year olds that teaches basic educational subjects like the alphabet, phonics, and basic math.
7.  Robosapien, 2004. A sophisticated robot that fuses technology and personality, who can walk, run, turn, grip, motion, kick, belch, rap, and more, in response to remote control.  They have even held Robosapien soccer contests!

8.  Bratz, 2001.  A series of 4 original dolls called Bratz were issued in 2001, named Cloe, Jade, Sasha and Yasmin, and by 2006 Bratz held 40% of the fashion doll market.
9.  Thunderbirds Tracy Island--Try as I could, I could not find a release date for this popular toy where children can pretend to use advanced technological toys to thwart evil and do good.