A Little World
Under the Christmas Tree
by Bob Brooke
Germans began the tradition of putting little houses under their
Christmas trees. They called it a "putz." In the early part of
the 20th Century, many Americans created their own Christmas
villages under their trees. To meet the need, German toy manufacturers
began to produce small, inexpensive, cardboard houses covered with bits
of mica to represent snow. The Dolly Toy Company of Chilicothe, Ohio,
started making these houses in the mid-1930s. They’re known as "printies"
because the details were printed on them. Makers used wire brushes for
evergreen trees and at first pink tissue and later colored cellophane
for the windows since the houses were meant to be lit from inside.
After World War II, Japan began producing
cheaper Christmas houses. These are the ones most found at flea markets
and antique malls today. While individual Japanese examples can begin as
low as $4-6, a complete boxed set of eight German ones can sell for as
high as $795.
For more information on Christmas houses,
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