We are often asked about the availability of Department 56 lighted buildings and accessories to buy in the UK. The appeal of Department 56 is obvious. Established since 1976, Department 56 are the leading brand of Christmas village products in the world. They have a range of products that is unsurpassed. They are also perceived as being a high quality manufacturer. Not surprising then that there are so many aspiring collectors in the UK. How achievable is it though to bring Department 56 Christmas villages to the UK?
Parent company Enesco is a truly international brand but they have so far shown little interest in marketing Department 56 to UK collectors. They are based in the USA and seem intent on targeting the North American market only. The Department 56 website does not offer international shipping. As such, very few UK retailers have chosen to supply Department 56 products.
Then there is the question of power supply. Department 56 electrical items are understandably shipped with a US plug fitted and are intended for use in North America. When you buy an electrical item from Europe for use in the UK, they are guaranteed to be compatible within EU countries. A travel adaptor is all that is required to function. Power supply in the USA is quite different and a simple adaptor may not work. For US electrical items to work in the UK it is likely that a step-down converter would be needed.
A better option would be to completely replace the light cord with that of another brand. Lemax use the same lighting method as Department 56 and their power cords are readily available with a UK 3-pin plug fitted. These are available in single, 3 LED light and 6 LED light cords. Another alternative you might consider is to use battery power. Department 56 produce a convenient battery powered lighting pack. This has the added benefit of not having to concern yourself with hiding the cords in your display.
You should also consider carefully any items with animated features. Even with a step-down converter in use it is possible that motors may run at a slightly different speed to how it was intended to be. In general, we would recommend sticking to simple lighted buildings with replacement light cords. Avoid animated pieces unless it is confirmed that they can be battery operated.
Another thing to take into account is cost. The cost of Department 56 buildings and accessories varies greatly. Like most leading Christmas village brands, Department 56 collectibles do not come cheap. Factor in the cost of international shipping, added tax and import duties and these would certainly have to be considered a premium collection.
However, Department 56 does boast some seriously impressive and highly desirable models that create the most fabulous Christmas village displays. For this reason alone you may well decide it is worth paying a premium to have these items in your home. If that is the case and you’re comfortable enough with power issues and such, it is in fact easier than you might think to purchase and import Department 56 products from the USA to the UK.
Easiest Way to Buy Dept 56 in the UK
We recommend purchasing via Amazon’s international shipping program, known as Amazon Global. Using this method ensures that all shipping costs, taxes, import duties are included in the price at the point of purchase. This means no nasty surprises of fees to pay on arrival. Its all very easy and completely transparent.
Here we show our picks of Department 56 items that are currently for sale in 2016 and available for import to the UK using Amazon Global.