Thanks to compulsive buying, cheered on by my daughter when she was a tot, my holiday Snow Village collection — miniature, lighted houses and shops recalling a simpler time in American life — is now larger than some actual towns.

I vowed to halt Snow Village expansion, but then, some years ago, Snow Village Hospital was issued, true to its 1950s era. It's white with two big pillars, and a big arrow points to the emergency department, which doesn't seem to exist. I nestled it into the snow beside the glowing residential neighborhood.

But ever since the hospital joined the village, strange things happen. Just the other night at bedtime, I turned out the village lights and walked away. When I reached the stairs, trailed by my kitty cat, I heard a distinct thud and all the village lights clicked back on. I heard voices. Peering around the corner, to my amazement, little people sat talking in the Cozy Corner Café.

There was Dr. Weinstock, the village physician; Mr. Santamour, editor of the annual holiday newspaper; young Mr. Stempniak, the assistant editor; Mr. Barr, the jolly blogger; and Ms. Jeffries, a village trustee. Mr. Lazar, the café owner, was pouring coffee and reviewing the latest buzz.

Mr. Lazar recently defeated Mr. Weitzel, who is considered a cheapskate, in the mayoral election. Mr. Weitzel's campaign slogan was: Nothing for Nobody! Mr. Lazar's was: Next to Nothing for Everybody!

"We need to get this village moving again with a big idea," said Mr. Lazar. "Let's wire up the whole place with all the latest electronic gadgets."

"Yeah!" shouted Mr. Stempniak. "Ms. Hoppszallern at the Toy Store told me we could take a magazine survey and be recognized. Wow: The Most Wired Snow Village list. Awesome!"

"Hold on," cautioned Mr. Santamour, adjusting his green eyeshade. "We shouldn't jump into the 21st century too quickly. Now, where's my pencil and why do I have Post-it notes all over my sweater vest? Oh, right. That's my to-do filing system."

"I agree," said trustee Jeffries. "We should overthink this idea to within an inch of its life. There's no hurry. We have 87 years before the century ends."

"I don't know about all this electronic, info tech stuff," growled Dr. Weinstock. "I hear it all the time at the hospital. All this talk about meaningful moose! A mo-o-o-ose in a hospital," he bellowed. Imagine that!

"That's not jolly," said Mr. Barr.

"A moose wandered into the village once," recalled Mr. Santamour. "It was awful. Knocked everything down. Destroyed the opera house. Crushed the opera company — literally. They couldn't be glued back together."

"That wasn't a moose. That was Roxie, the dog," said Mr. Lazar. "So, what about my big idea? Do we go for it?"

"Yes, yes, yes," pleaded Mr. Stempniak. "Don't let the old folks quash it."

"Old pokes, you say? Who's that, sonny boy?" snapped Dr. Weinstock.

"Oh, oh, " sighed trustee Jeffries. "We might have one of those generations-in-the-workplace problems."

"I think we should all sleep on it," said Mr. Santamour.

Good night, Snow Village. And Happy Holidays to you.

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