Note: This is an archive of "Papa" Ted Althof's online tribute to cardboard Christmas "putz" houses and their history. At Ted's request, this archive was established in early 2012. Except for critical updates and announcements, it will remain exactly as Ted left it in October, 2012.
For more information, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Christmas holly bar graphic
PUTZES 2004!

Christmas snow scene animation Christmas snow scene animation


Christmas trees bar graphic>

This year's creations submitted by our fans!
Christmas holly bar graphic

Antoinette Stockenberg's new mantel putz!

( Antoinette has added vintage Lionel #35 lamposts, trees,and several choice houses since last year.)
Chritmas Putz Picture(39K)
Here's my Christmas card to you. If you'd like to stroll through this 1930's fantasy and have a closer look, just click on any of the houses. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Christmas holly bar graphic

Tom Hull
...builds Christmas

Christmas village houses putz display
Tom's collection has grown astonishingly this year. He's doing an "all-arounder" in the middle of the living room floor...and two satellite putzes! Note the old Noma Bubble Light Tree, and the glass candle "Glo-Lite" trees, lit from inside by a single bulb.
Hubley cast iron Christmas sleigh antique 
Santa splits town in an old Hubley cast iron sleigh!
Check out the old tinplate electrified fence - made, I am guessing, by the long defunct "S & G Novelty Co." of Mars, PA - who made most of the "tin and wire" types you find. If so, this is one I've never seen before. Be careful, Tom! Those old 120-volt fences have zapped a lot of kids and set a lot of fires. Watch those frayed wires!

Tom's "Pueblo" side putz.
Christmas village houses putz display
The "Pueblo;" another view.
Christmas village houses putz 

Christmas village houses putz 


Christmas village houses putz display
A third putz on the piano. This one is All-American. Dolly Toy and Colmor, ca. WW II.
Christmas village houses putz display>
The big picture. Large dogs not welcome here, but everyone else is!
Christmas holly bar graphic

"Papa" Ted ....

Speaking of dogs .....

Just a single microcosmic shot from my old putz which has been up for years ..
Christmas putz miniature dogs feature
I found a little baggie full of tiny ceramic dogs at a yard sale one day. The fire hydrant another. Just to show that almost anything can go into a putz. The great fun of putzing is creating these little niches that tell a little story.

Christmas holly bar graphic

A Family Tradition
The Hartneys

 Vintage Christmas village houses putz 
display photo

"Its a family history of the Putz tradition with photos going back to about 1930. My father was from Bethlehem,PA and was of good Moravian stock on his mother's side (A Degelow). He brought the tradition to his new family in Florida where I grew up and I've brought it to Northern California (Martinez, near SF Bay). Dad always told me Putz meant "place" but I don't know German at all. We had alot of the German/Japanese cardboard houses as a kid but I don't know where they went. My dad was an architectural draftsman and every year he brought home sheets of cardboard from work and we made buildings ourselves, painting them and sprinkling them with mica snow. I still make a few - you may notice the Hellgate bridge in the 2002 photos, I made it from cardboard. So too the church, barn, a few houses, the other bridges and miscl other structures." - Jim Hartney

Photo ca. 1935

Jim has a newborn website with a lot more to see - and a lot more to come! Here we have a family that marks it's history through putzing. Welcome on board, Hartneys! You have found your tribe!

Meantime, there's even a short antique train movie! -so let's check out what he's got to share - Click on:

Christmas holly bar graphic

You never know what time of year things will come in! Jeannie sent this one to me in March. I love it! A mix of everything it should be.
Christmas village houses putz display
"Dear Popa Ted You asked for villages.... I started mine as a TV top village.. that was the space we had in 1968. My grandmother had a baby grand village, and my mom's was a book case counter top. Some of the "littles" people, carts birds etc are from those villages, but the houses did not survive. Being a young married couple and on limited resources I made them from balsa wood, shingled, sided porched with plastic painted windows. Over the years the village grew, a smoke damaged and refurbished mountain was added, we moved to an airfield, and the village got one. By now the village was 7 feet long and 4 feet wide with a back board of rhinestone stars, and over head santa's jumped from airplanes, parachuted, hang glided and there is a mouse hot air balloon with a tea strainer gondola. There are boats in a lake and two lighthouses, a desert corner and a n gauge train runs around the works. Wooden bridges, and streets. Bottle brush trees are set in the board that is white throughout. It takes two men to carry the board in. My computer jams on too many pictures so I will send a few more on to you in other emails. I sure enjoyed your pictures and will be ordering some windows for the second bookshelf putz village I am repairing. Jeannie Tomanica Michigan"
Christmas village houses putz display
The candles are from the older villages, and this airplane is German. You can just see a little of the two flying santas. Jeannie Check out those candles. Gurley's, I am sure!
Christmas village houses putz display
"The mice in the balloon are overhead left in this one, train track in fore ground and village road going to the church. This one has the German wood toned watering can lady with a big hat, I have seen that one on ebay too. Jeannie"
Christmas village houses putz display
"Dear Popa Ted Yes I have the houses but they have to have window repair, and yard repair, it would have to be a before picture, but I can set up the shot for you, it is a shelf Putz, would that be ok? My husband says I am a Christmas nut... I also paint all my own Christmas ornaments, like my mom and aunt did, wooden, and that is what I give at Christmas usually in sets of three, and paint all year to achieve that. I have been doing that 16 years now. I guess you could call me a traditionalist.... or some such. I have about 24 houses to repair, mainly windows, bought 2 auctions on ebay and singles, the ones I don't want go back on ebay. So I thank you for the help. Jeannie"
You bet, Jeannie! Thanks for sharing this with us! -P.T.

Christmas holly bar graphic
If you have pictures of Christmas layouts new or old, please send them via e-mail so we can put them on the site!
Any time of the year!

For information about this site, please contact us at:

Copyright 2000-2012 Theodore H. Althof,Jr.Except where noted, the contents of this website and all it's pages and submissions therein contained are the intellectual property of Theodore H.Althof,Jr. All rights are reserved. (Background musical selections are,of course, excepted.)

Note: This archive was set up at Ted's request in early 2012, and, except for critical updates and
announcements, will remain exactly as Ted left it in October, 2012.
The archive is kept online with the help of volunteers from:

Visit the FamilyChristmasOnline site for Christmas music, stories, craft resources and much more.
Visit the OldChristmasTreeLights site for the history of Christmas tree lighting, including Bubble Lights and more.
Visit our collection of resources for collecting, restoring, and making your own cardboard Christmas houses.
Visit Howard Lamey's glitterhouse gallery, with free project plans, graphics, and instructions.
Check out  a very active, quality craft and collectibles blog (with local news of Croton NY).
Resources for making seasonal villages and model railroads for O, S, and On30 model railroading