Most of the Putz houses in my collection were made in Japan during the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. Made of lightweight cardboard and covered in glitter, faux snow and mica these tiny houses each have their own personality. All of the larger houses were made as a stand alone house on a sturdy cardboard base with a small hole in the back to allow for a light to shine through the windows which have a light cellophane film printed with window mullions. Some have tiny landscaping like trees and bushes, others have painted details. When lined up and lit they make a charming village.
These small mica covered Putz houses were originally intended to be used under the Christmas tree with a string of lights connected to help them to glow and sparkle with the glittery faux snow at Christmas time. Gathering these Putz houses into little villages and towns placed under the tree along with an electric train which Dad played with more than the kids gave the room a distinct Christmasy feel.
Several of them are marked on their bottoms, “Made in Japan”. One has an original price stamp reminiscent of a dime store mark of ten cents; another was nineteen cents. Today they command prices upwards of $20 each. Putz houses are becoming more scarce each year and because of their cardboard construction are rather fragile often with some damage when found.
Originally intended as ornaments, these even smaller putz houses combine with the larger ones easily. While not as charming as their larger cousins, the tiny Putz houses are still a delight. The whitish one in the center is covered with clear glass glitter while the others have mica sparkles giving them a darker appearance. I used to hang them on the tree as they are ornaments but now use them on shelves around the house to add a little something extra to my vintage Christmas decor.
If you like these adorable houses, keep an eye out when shopping estate sales, especially during off seasons, to find these charming Putz houses to decorate your home for Christmas. Happy hunting.