My husband and I have had a Christmas village display for about three or four years, now. Each year, the village gets larger, and we have to make more room for the houses, shops, people, and even the trees in the village. We even have an ice skating rink in our village!
This past year, I put the village up by myself, since he was busy doing a lot of other things that needed to be done. The first step, of course, is to make sure the room is cleared out in the spot the village is to be set up. For us, that was immediately inside the front door, between the door and the tree, which was in front of the window. I moved a sturdy table into the space, and then began placing boxes and pieces of wood to make hills and valleys. Once I had all of them placed, and thought that the houses and shops, etc. would fit, I took a clean sheet and covered it all. With the sheet, I didn't have to worry about "snow", because the sheet gave the impression as clearly as cotton or snow spray could do.
Then I began setting the houses and shops (and even a couple of churches) in place. A time or two, I had to switch buildings, to make them fit the spots better, but they all fit in fairly well. I even had a horse-drawn sleigh and a hot-air balloon in the village! The larger houses and buildings were set up toward the back, against the wall and on the top level of the town. Next were the entertainment sections, with smaller houses and a church or two, with the sleigh and hot-air balloon. At the front were small houses and some of the children.
People and animals were spread wherever they would fit, and there even was a section of the town underneath the table, set up in much the same way as the tabletop had been done. Some small cars and trucks were also spread around the town, and a few animals. Even streetlights were in some spots.
The lighting was done by setting up power strips. I used two power strips on each side, with one larger strip to handle each set of power strips. That way, I only had to turn two switches on to get the entire village lit up. I always made sure one of us was in the house and awake while the lights were on. When we headed for bed, all the lights were turned off, even those on the tree and outdoors (which is another story). My husband has made sure that each plug I use for the lights has plenty of power to take care of what I put on them. Neither of us wants a fire-especially at Christmas!