Monday, November 28, 2011

Vintage Christmas ... Putz Houses and Bottlebrush Trees...

Hello... and welcome to Idyllhours... some of you may have seen my vintage Christmas treasures before and heard my stories about them... but I hope you will enjoy seeing them again... I have collected vintage Christmas since I was a little girl... many of my things are from my childhood... and many gathered throughout the years... I am so sentimental and have such precious memories of Christmases past... both mine and the images in my mind of those who have passed on and whose vintage Christmas treasures I have found at estate sales and now live with me... each and every one softly speaks to me... the precious stories they have to tell!... shhh... listen closely... to the beautiful memories of Christmas from days~gone~by... I always say that I love to think that those whose treasures I now call my own, are looking down at them from Heaven and smiling... reminiscing about Christmases of long ago... knowing I will take care of them and they will continue making new Christmas memories with me and my family...

Today I want to share my collection of vintage Putz houses and bottlebrush trees... Putz houses originated in Germany... the word "Putzen" meaning to decorate or adorn... lavish little villages were set up at Christmas time often with a little train layout as well... shortly thereafter, Japan began making the little villages and exporting them to the United States... my collection is almost entirely marked "Made in Japan" placing it between 1921~1941, prior to WWII... those made after the War were placed on larger cardboard bases, where mine are all on flat cardboard... that, along with the markings on the bottoms, is one of the ways to help you determine the age of your Putz houses... all of the little houses in the photo above belonged to me as a little girl... as well as the bottle brush trees, with the exception of the red one, which I purchased at a tag sale some years ago... one of my very favorite pieces is my little church below... like the others, it was mine as a child... I remember buying the little handcarved wooden angels as if it were yesterday... they were 25 cents each back then... I had to save up my allowance to buy them at a little gift shop in downtown Bountiful... one has a broken wing... making her even more precious to me now...

Jack always teases me about my "giant" deer in my little village... he has built a wonderful model railroad layout fashioned after the '40s ... my favorite era in time... so romantic back then... (I sometimes wish I would have been born earlier than I was so I could have experienced those years) ... and of course his is all to scale... mine is not!... I love my giant celluloid deer... my little old mirror is the lake, of course... I could not wait to set up my little mica covered village as a child... and I am ten years old once more as I set it up these days...

Last year was the first year we did not light up our little village... the little houses started smelling hot with the bulbs in them, and I did not want to burn the village down... my larger church has a teeny bulb inside and batteries in the bottom... so it lights up for Midnight Mass...

My little green bottlebrush tree is so priceless to me!... shabby and worn... and so well ~loved...

Do you know the difference between "Japan"and "Made in Japan"?... well, as I stated above, "Made in Japan" puts your collectibles between 1921 and 1941... "Japan" markings were used after 1941 and are used to present day... the only exception to these markings are those marked "Occupied Japan" which dates from 1945~1952 when Allied Forces occupied Japan after the War ended... my next little village was all from an estate sale I attended a number of years ago, with the exception of the two little blue houses and the one pink roofed one... those were a gift from my sister Jill last year...

The estate was that of a military man who had served in WWII and his wife who had each passed away... for the life of me, I cannot understand how family members can part with such precious things... (I purchased so many wonderful treasures from this estate, including not only vintage Christmas, but many pieces of WWII memorabilia)... the little celluloid Santa in his sleigh is from the same estate and is one of my most prized decorations... it is from the early 50's...

My three bottle brush trees below are much larger than most and extremely rare and hard to come by these days... these are about 10 inches tall, marked "Made in Japan" and still have the fabulous original mercury glass balls on them...

These next Putz houses are original vintage ones, that my friend Janet at Shabbyfufu then puts her magical touch on and creates these stunning little Christmas boxes... I have purchased one each year for the past three years... sadly, she had none available this year...

Pretty in pink...

"I'm dreaming of a White Christmas"... can't you just hear Bing crooning...

My sweet sister Jill gifted me with these beautiful vintage bottlebrush trees several years ago...

And also this gorgeous green one... all three were found by her in a quaint little antique store in San Juan Capistrano... these colors are very hard to come by these days... thanks Jill!...

I hope you enjoyed seeing my little vintage Putz houses and trees... I am partying with Patti and Paula at Ivy and Elephants on " What's It Wednesdays" and Debra at Common Ground on "Vintage Inspiration Fridays, Vintage Christmas"... hope you all will visit their blogs for links to all of the other party goers those days too!... xoxo...


  1. I love your collection, Julie Marie! I have always loved these little houses but do not own a single one. Well, until very soon. I am making my first little Christmas house - a fairy cottage covered with glitter, which isn't finished yet, but I hope to share in the next couple of weeks. :)
    Hope you have a lovely week!!!
    ~ Zuzu

  2. This was so much fun! I loved learning about all of the little villages and trees.

    Everything is beautiful. You truly have the spirit of Christmas!

  3. Wow Julie Marie you have a lot of houses and trees! Funny thing becuase I just listed some houses on Etsy and will be listing some trees as well. I love them, but just can't keep everything and it is time to downsize my vintage Christmas goodies. Enjoy yours!!

  4. Such wonderful vintage deorations ! Have a great day !

  5. what a beautiful collection!

    i live in Salt Lake, and my husband and I love taking road trips through small rural towns in this beautiful state. i bet you live in a dreamy place ;)

  6. What a sweet display, the pink houses are my favorite! Laura

  7. I have often seen these little arrangements but knew nothing of their history . . thank you for sharing, both your collection and so much history. I love the Santa and sleigh. Could not bear to part with it if it were mine.

  8. Hi Julie,
    Such gorgeous treasure you have there, and yes I can definitely hear Bing crooning in the background. (He's on my CD player!)LOL The little pink houses and the white one are my favorites.
    Thanks so much for linking to our "What's It Wednesdays". Hope to see you again each week.

  9. What a great collection. I love these tiny houses too. Can't you get lost in the little town and dream? I love the Santa too.


  10. Julie Marie what a truly amazing collection you have ) just beautiful!!! memories are great, are they not!


  11. What a stunning collection you have, Julie Marie! Two of my favorite things to collect, as well! I love the bit of history you shared...I always enjoy learning more about the things I love!

    I'm with you--I will NEVER understand why people sell their family heirlooms! I go "junkin'" almost every Saturday...and one day this last summer, I saw the most glorious OLD rocking chair. I asked the owner about it. It was her GREAT-GRANDMOTHERS! I told her that if I could afford the asking price, I would snatch it up immediately, but that she should never sell it! I actually told her to take it and put it back in her house! (I was nice about it, of course, but I really couldn't believe it!)

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful things, dear friend! Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!


  12. I absolutely LOVE your vintage Christmas decor.:) Thanks for stopping by today to say "hello" over at my place.;)

  13. You have such a neat collection. My hubby is like yours with the model train layouts. He always did one at Christmas with his bottle brush trees, little houses, lamps and the "n" scale train running. He always had the bigger train running around the Christmas tree when the kids were little. I am so glad that you shared your collection. Take care Your Missouri Friend.

  14. What a beautiful collection of vintage Christmas goodness! They just make me smile.

    Wishing you a wonderful week, sweet friend.

  15. What an adorable collection. I love the little houses and trees. Great colors and your vignette is gorgeous. I'm visiting from Ivy and Elephants.......

    The French Hutch

  16. You really do have the best vintage Christmas I've ever seen anywhere Julie Marie! And you know so much about them.
    I hope my children keep some of the handmade Christmas I have in the family. It makes me sad too when I see such treasures at a yard sale or estate sale.
    hugs from here...

  17. I've never heard of Putz houses. What a fabulous collection my friend. You KNOW I love the pink ones~ Loved learning everything about them... know sooo much!

    Love you girl~


  18. Good morning Julie Marie....What BEAUTIFUL Christmas treasures you are sharing with us the cotton snow!!! What is so special about your display is that it is partially made up of other people's treasures that you are lovingly caring for.

    Have a wonderful day,


  19. It amazes me as well what families part with. This collection is adorable. Thanks for the visit.

  20. I am in awe of your beautiful collection!!!!!

  21. What a beautiful and special collection this is. I wish I would have saved some of our Christmas decorations from when I was a little girl. There were so many that were my favorite. Well, at least I still have their sweet memory. Thank you for sharing Julie Marie. I alwasy love to hear your childhood stories. Sending you a great big hug.


  22. These are all so beautiful, Julie Marie! I'll bet you are so exciting to be getting all of these wonderful things out and decorating. Gary will be putting up our village soon and I can't wait!!

  23. I have one big work I must get out first, JEALOUS! I so love putz houses! You just do not find those here in UT. I have alot of cardboard village houses because I love them so much. One big difference, mine are repro's. I have a couple of vintage ones. I gnab any little item I can find because I love making little wintery scenes under glass. I did find a set of three small reindeer like your one. Wonderful that some are from your childhood. The pink ones are so sweet. Also love the bottle brush trees. Again, mine are reproductions. Thanks so much for sharing and I am now a new follower.

  24. I love Christmas town! Your's is so cute! and the use of mirror as frozen pond is smart!
    Thanks for the visit and comment! I would love to see your little Paris in a jar project :)


  25. Julie-Marie, the Putz houses are so special. Humble and full of bling at the same time I feel. You are so passionate about them and I love that. Merry Christmas ♥ Olive

  26. Hi sweet Julie....thank you for popping over to visit my blog today and mentioning me in your post! Your collection is lovely and you display everything so well.

    This year I'm keeping it simple in both my own home and on the website in terms of Christmas....mainly just taking special orders.

    I'll try and check in again soon....xo,

  27. My you have a beautiful collection of Putz houses! I love how you have set them up in a village, snow and all. I remember as a child, our neighbour had a village under their tree every year with a white fence. I wish I had it now. I posted about my small collection today if you would like to visit my blog. Blessings, Pamela

  28. If I was not in the Christmas spirit before I surely am now. I just turned on the radio to a holiday station. I am totally enjoying your most beautiful Christmas vignettes. I know now I am going to start decorating this weekend. Thanks so much for the inspiration and thanks for linking up to our very first blog linky party.


  29. I have great memories an aunt who set up these little villages under her Christmas tree. My mom got them when she passed away and recently gifted them to me. The cardboard box they're in says they're from 1937. I can't wait to set them up this year!

    Have you thought about maybe using those little battery-operated tea lights to illuminate them? It would be a pain to turn them on and off, but at least they don't get too hot.

  30. LOVE them all Julie, you have the biggest and most amazing collection of true vintage Christmas items I have EVER seen! You're so lucky :)

  31. Hi Julie, I have always loved the Putz Houses. I do not own any of these as my collecting of houses went in a different direction, but I admire all these little treasures and love reading all about the info you teach here. I would love to have a copy of your info to put with my antique information from school as we did not cover this topic.
    Your collection is amazing and is such excellent condition. I know you take very good care of this precious treasures. The trees are gorgeous too and I love the larger ones also.
    Thank you for sharing and teaching all about these little darlings.

    Christmas looks beautiful at your lovely home.
    XO Celestina Marie