I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re already heading in the tail end of 2021. And that means it’s time for LEGO to unveil their yearly addition to the Winter Village Collection. This year there’s no beating around the bush – we get right to the main event. LEGO Winter Village Collection 10293: Santa’s Visit will be available to VIP members starting September 16th, and at LEGO stores starting October 1st, for US $99.99 | CAN $139.99 | UK £79.99, and brings that momentous event to life. But will it be a holiday disaster? Come along as we take a close look at this seasonal offering!
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet
The set comes packaged in a mid-sized thumb-punch box with “Adult Collector” style theme. That means a black background (this time with a touch of falling snow), minimal logos, and a suggested age range of “18+”. As is usual with these sets, that age range is meant more to lure in the people who think “LEGO products are just for kids” rather than any reflection on the building complexity. While there are lots of interesting techniques in store for us, there’s very little in this set that would frustrate a younger builder. The set contents are shown to a good advantage – you can clearly see all that you’ll be constructing.
One of the new things I noticed, though, is that LEGO is now promoting a “multi-player” (multi-builder?) mode for these sets. The logo in the lower right corner shows a group of people with a “1-2” caption. And, as we’ll see, this set is indeed easy to split up into two separate builds. The only other time I can think that LEGO has done something like this was in the long-lost LEGO Games theme, where you had a suggested number of players. Not quite the same thing, I know.
The back of the box showcases the rear view of the house. You can see the detailed interior with the minifigures posed for a holiday evening. There are a number of inset shots off to the right, showing the dimensions of the set (11.5″/29cm by 7.5″/19 cm ), a lifestyle shot of the completed set, and teasers of the details and play features.
Inside the box are 9 bags of parts and a tenth bag that holds the two instruction books and the sticker sheet.
The smaller instruction booklet is center-stapled and 52 pages long. The thicker manual is perfect-bound and 176 pages in length. The two books allow for the “multi-builder” feature denoted on the box – each set of instructions is “stand-alone” using their own part bags and not directly connecting to each other’s construction.
As is usual for the adult collector theme, the instructions in the thicker book give a quick overview of the set and a brief note about the designer. In this case, that’s Chris McVeigh, the same designer who brought us last year’s 10275 Elf Clubhouse. There are also fun little callouts throughout the build that add extra context to things, as well as sharing Chris’ thoughts about the construction.
The sticker sheet is fairly small, with designs that probably will find use in many custom builds down the road. In particular, I can see that rocket poster being repurposed in a Space-themed command center somewhere.
There is a good range of different elements in this set, including some noteworthy ones. The neatest is possibly the “opalescent” transparent 1×1 round brick, of which the set provides three. Equally cool is a brand new cookie print based on the “Melting Moments” cookie that Chris McVeigh’s mother makes every year. There are also some uncommon pieces making a return. The “Wolverine Claw” minifigure accessory has only appeared in green once before in the 71741 Ninjago City Gardens set. This variation of the letter envelope has only made three previous appearances, the first time in 2019’s 10264 Corner Garage.
The mailbox, tree, and presents
First up, we’ll look at the more compact sub-set covered in the first instruction booklet. All the parts necessary for this section are present in the first parts bag, making this an easy area to share with a second builder. There are four main things to make here, including a minifigure who we’ll talk about a bit later in this review. We’ll start off now with the snowy mailbox and gate. It’s a nice little build, with great use of domed brick to suggest heavy snowfall. The mailbox is also pretty cute, with a black candlestick used for the pole.
The opalescent 1×1 brick is used in the lantern giving a simultaneous appearance of frosted glass and just a touch of candle-lit glow. I think it gives this set a subtle distinction from the more common transparent-yellow 1×1 used in a lot of other released kits.
As you’d expect, this year’s winter village set comes with a Christmas tree. Usually, the designers take a stab at making each tree a bit different, with varying levels of success. Making use of a light brick in the base and a center “trunk” of transparent-clear brick and tile, you know right away that something is different this year.
Yes, this year the tree lights up! Gentle pressure at the top of the tree will activate the light brick, which is bright enough to create a warm glow all the way to the top of the tree. It’s a really great effect and a tree design that’s going to be very difficult to top in the coming years.
The final bit of building is a selection of presents to stash around the tree. There’s a golden trumpet, a small house/car playset, a model rocket, and three wrapped presents. The use of flower elements for the red and green packages creates a really nice “bow” effect.
The second instruction book covers the construction of the main part of the build: the house. You start off by constructing a foundation of the plate. There are some unusual angles in play, solidly reinforced by hinged plates.
The white snow exterior plate is quickly separated from the house’s interior by a wall of dark grey brick. The cobblestone walk up to the front door is made from a variety of round tiles. The interior spaces quickly take shape with a kitchen and fireplace on opposite ends of the home. The fireplace is filled with a row of candles mounted on a rotating bar. Not the safest thing in the world, but I’m sure there’s a reason for it. (Spoiler alert: there’s totally a reason for it.)
The interior spaces closest to the outside walls are hard to get at as the walls and ceilings are added, so set dressing appears early in the kitchen. One of the instruction call-outs notes that the 1×1 dome brick is unofficially called a “bread loaf” by LEGO designers. (A cute fact I was previously unaware of.) And, as the instructions note, quite fitting as they’re used here to make a loaf of bread.
The lowest level of the exterior is also getting some love at this point. Those green claws make for good-looking seasonal greenery, and there’s a cute bird perched on a window sill. Curved slopes and 1×2 cheese wedges make for some good-looking snowdrifts.
The first floor walls and ceilings go on next, fleshing out the edges of the house. The chimney has a pretty significant gap in the center. Hmmm. Again, I wonder why?
The chimney has some superb decoration. The stockings are colorful with a smooth build, the candles flanking the clock look great, and I just adore that family portrait. The tan recliner hides the purple present that was added in the earlier steps from easy view. A plate of milk and cookies completes this cozy nook.
The use of 2×2 tile with center studs allows for easy minifigure posing in the completed kitchen. I’m also really fond of the mixer and sink designs. These are small touches that might not get noticed by people looking at the completed set but are a real treat for the person assembling things.
The exterior of the chimney uses scattered 1×1 rounded plates to break up the wall of dark grey and provide a bit of visual pop to this area. The front door also gets a jolly bit of holly to spruce things up.
The central space on the first floor of the home is taken up with a dining table with festive decorations. Two lit candles, a red runner, and some mugs of (presumably) cocoa invite you to sit for a spell.
The one-room present on the second floor is the kid’s bedroom. It starts out strong with their letter to Santa, the space poster, a bed, and a bit of railing to keep them from falling into the kitchen. On the exterior wall, a set of golden bells hung under the eaves add more holiday decoration into the mix.
To provide support for the roof, a central strut is added over the dining room. It features a hanging light fixture and a small snow-topped vent.
The roof is attached with a bit of Technic building. The hinged assembly makes it easy to fold things up into their final positions.
The roof sections are pretty straightforward mirrored building, with a nice decorative touch of white tile along the bottom edge. The bread-brick along the roof peak does a great job of hiding any seams.
The area above the front door starts out with this attic section. Another “hidden” present nestles into the exposed inside edge.
The exterior side gets more draped greenery, a candle in the window, and more bells.
At this point, there’s just a few finishing details to add: The top of the chimney, a tree, and a snowman. We’ll cover those in the next section.
The finished model
The completed home is a very attractive build. It’s appropriately snow-bound, with the light blue exterior color adding to the icy feel. Those colder elements are contrasted by the green, red, and gold of the decorations, making things still feel very inviting.
The build looks good from all angles. The two side views are thin but don’t feel unfinished. The interior view is open, with just about everything well-lit and easy to see.
The child’s bedroom has some great space-themed details. Of particular note is this ringed planet diorama, made from a Technic ball and a minifigure chakram weapon.
It’s also notable that the roof section that adjoins the bedroom is designed to be easily swung out of the way for easier play access.
Outside, there’s a minimalist snowman. I like this approach over yet another “black top hat” snowman build. Maybe the family are Star Wars fans and this is a BB-8 tribute.
The on the other side of the house is this great little tree build, complete with birdhouse. The instructions note that this is the first time a deciduous tree has been part of a Winter Village set.
Adding in the minifigures you can create your own holiday scenes. The cheerful expressions on the character’s faces seem to invite a bit of comedy, but I like to think Mom is just thrilled Dad has been busy filling the house with the smells of his favorite bakes.
Oh yeah, this set is called “Santa’s Visit”, isn’t it? Probably best if we end our recap of the set with that. The chimney has a removable snowy capstone that is roomy enough to fit not only the Santa minifigure, but also his hand-held sack of gifts.
And, yeah, it’s a little slapstick, but I just adore the play feature of Santa’s arrival. He swoops down the chimney, kicks over the row of candles, and crashes into the dining room table. (Maybe the last house’s milk and cookies tribute featured some rum-spiked eggnog.) Despite multiple attempts, I wasn’t able to get Santa to jam in the chimney, so I doubt it’ll be a problem for anyone else. But if it does, that removable chimney top should make retrieval easier. You won’t even have to break out your favorite CITY rescue chopper. You know, unless you want to.
This set comes with four minifigures. The first three compose the happy family, with two adults and a PJ-clad youngster. Of these three, the kid will be of most interest to collectors. That PJ top is a new print, as is her dual-sided face print.
The kid’s short legs make her the perfect height to face off against the Mighty Micros version of Wolverine. (Very much not included in this set. But he should have been.) It works even better if you arm her with some festive claws of her own.
The fourth figure is another holiday upgrade. This version of Santa has all-new face and torso prints, and comes with dual-molded legs giving him his signature black boots for the first time. It’s a really great look for the jolly old fellow.
Conclusion and recommendation
You know, I try and bring a balanced view to these reviews. When things are questionable, corners have obviously been cut, or things could just be better, I’m more than willing to call out that LEGO and the design team needed to take a second look. But this set…I’m just not finding anything negative to say about it. This feels like an upgrade to the whole Winter Village theme. The set is beautiful and fun to build, it’s designed to be a group experience, and the usual “ugh, not again” land mines of the yearly Christmas tree and snowman redesigns have been solidly answered. The play features are equal parts classy (the tree) and wacky (Santa’s rapid arrival). If you don’t feel like playing, the set looks great as a static display piece. From a price perspective, $100 US for 1445 pieces is around 8.7-cents-per, which is pretty reasonable for the variety of parts and figures that are included, including that excellent Santa upgrade. So…yeah. If holiday sets are at all your thing, be sure to pick this one up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
LEGO Winter Village Collection 10293: Santa’s Visit will be available to VIP members starting September 16th, and at LEGO stores starting October 1st, for US $99.99 | CAN $139.99 | UK £79.99. It may also available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
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