Updated: Dec 16, 2019
MINIATURE GNOME TABLEAUX BRING CHRISTMAS CHEER TO OXFORD’S SQUARE.
WRITTEN BY Ginny McCarley | PHOTOGRAPHED BY Jim Hendrix
Best friends Deb Pittman and Angela Maloney and are self-proclaimed “Christmas nerds.” So, when they discovered tiny, homemade “fairy-gnome” scenes in downtown Greenwood, they couldn’t wait to re-create the idea in Oxford with a holiday twist.
Maloney and Pittman had taken their kids to Greenwood for a night last December to eat dinner and enjoy the town’s decorations when they first noticed the miniature doors and dooryards in corners all around town. The Greenwood fairy-gnome doors are a permanent fixture of the town, but they are decorated with tiny wreaths, bells, Christmas trees and snow during the holiday season.
“That’s where the idea was born,” Maloney said. “Deb said to me, ‘Let’s spread some Christmas cheer,’ so when we got back to Oxford, we bought mini gnomes and made scenes all around the Square.”
The two friends, together with their five kids, bought gnomes, mini wreaths, brightly wrapped presents, sparkly snow and angel figures and created tiny tableaux that they tucked near storefronts and on ledges around the Square. Soon, news of the mini Christmas gnome tableaux spread on social media.
“Everyone was taking pictures, tagging us, having their kids go to the Square to find them. It was just so much fun,” Maloney said.
Initially, the women set out just five or six tableaux, but they were such a hit that they ended up creating more than a dozen. Friends flooded their Facebook pages with photos of their children posing next to the tiny gnomes and sent encouraging messages saying how happy the scenes were making them. They were so popular, shop owners and friends began suggesting spots for more.
“If (the tableau) was visible from a storefront, we would ask the store owner, and every single person we asked was like, ‘Absolutely, go for it,’” Maloney said. “We even had store owners asking for them; they liked it too.”
Though they look quite intricate, the scenes are simple to create. Maloney and Pittman scoured craft supply stores for gnomes, snowflakes and other tiny treasures, and hauled it all to the
Square. Once there, they let their kids arrange the scenes, hot gluing pieces together when possible before sprinkling it all with a bit of fake snow.
They tried to select spots that were protected from weather and out of the way of foot traffic, but still easily visible to anyone walking by. Miraculously, all except one survived the holiday season.
This year the duo plans to ramp up the excitement, and Invitation Magazines is excited to be a part of their effort. Look around Oxford, Tupelo and Corinth for some special magazine-themed scenes, snap a pic and share it on social media with the hashtag #invitationholiday.
Learn to make your own gnome homes here: http://www.invitationmag.com/post/make-your-own-gnome-homes.