Collecting Cardboard Christmas “Putz” Houses and Related Items!
Like many things we were used to growing up, “you don’t know what you got ‘till it’s gone.” When I talk to strangers about putzes (the original cardboard or wooden Christmas villages folks used to put around their nativities or Christmas trees), they often remember having a set of cardboard buildings. Many fondly remember setting them out and searching their toy box, farm sets, and train set boxes for accessories to make the little village come to life. But few folks remember what happened to the little cardboard putz houses that were such a big part of Christmas decades ago.
Fortunately, modern collectors have saved many of these from obliteration. Even more important, they’ve taken photos and kept records so that the rest of us can benefit from their research when we come across something very old, but new to us.
The foremost collector’s web page was put together by “Papa” Ted Althof, who spent decades collecting, cataloging, and categorizing these. He gave names to several rare variants, and for nearly a decade he offered replacement windows and doors for folks looking to restore their own cardboard Christmas houses. Sadly, Ted passed away in October, 2012. But before he did, he asked us to maintain an archive of his web page
Note: If you’re even contemplating starting your own collection - go through Ted’s Categories/History pages before making your first purchase. There are lots of folks out there trying to convince you that some common, low-quality house is a rare, valuable piece. At the very least, you should have some idea of what you’re looking at before you bid $80 on a piece that should be selling for $25.
- To jump right to our archive of Papa Ted’s site, for an extensive history and detailed descriptions of these houses, click here.
- Antoinette Stockenberg has a much smaller collection, but it includes some very rare examples. Even more striking is the way she displays, photographs, and writes about her little communities every year. One of Antoinette’s 2007 displays is shown at the top of this page. When you visit, be sure to look at previous years' pages to see other buildings, accessories, and arrangements.
- If you want to see our notes on storing cardboard Christmas houses, please click here.
If you have a putz house collection and you have your own web page, please let us know, and we’ll check it out with a view to posting it here.
If you have a collectible and you want to know how to find out its value, check out the Family Christmas Online(tm) article “How Much is My Collectible Worth?”