Department 56 releases a new line of houses and figures while retiring some of its older models for their Christmas village line. Some of the retired figures include Mickey’s Christmas Castle, the Basket & Bows house, Santa Comes to Town 2010, Decorating the Lamp Post, Mickey & Friends Sing Carols, and the Our Lady of Grace Church. In total, there are over 400 different retired pieces for the Christmas village collection.
In addition to its Christmas village, Department 56 also sells figures for Halloween, anniversary and Thanksgiving displays. For the Halloween collection, Department 56 has retired the Hanging Ghosts, Animated Spooky Hedge, Screech Owl Farmhouse, A Gravely Haunting 2009, Black Widow Dating Service, Deep Woods Haunt and many more. The Anniversary Collection saw the retirement of Jazz at the Jambalaya, Charles & Catherine Dickens, Our First Television and Strolling Down Howard Street, while Thanksgiving retirements include Harvest Farm Roadside Sales and Roadside Produce Stand.
Department 56 was founded in 1976 with the introduction of six lit ceramic buildings that began as the premise of The Original Snow Village. The village expanded in 1979 with the retirement of the original 1976 homes, the introduction of 12 new buildings and the first series of village accessories.