The Bell house has finally dressed up for the holidays. Only those who drive less than twenty miles an hour down my street have a chance of noticing this display. With tough competition in this neighborhood, my three overdressed fir trees will have a hard time impressing folks. Once the Christmas season has passed and the ornaments have been removed, my firs will continue to dress up my front porch until late spring next year.
The term “putz” was derived from the German verb putzen, which means “to clean” or “to decorate.” Originally, putz was a Moravian tradition that started about a century and a half ago when families created nativity scenes from organic materials as an annual holiday activity. By the twentieth century, putz creations had become secular, larger and more elaborate, and instead of nativity scenes, there were farms, villages, and toy trains. After World War II, Japanese companies started to mass produce cardboard structures with sparkly snow and colored cellophane windows that glowed when a C6 light bulb was inserted through a hole in the back. Nowadays, you see ceramic or plastic Christmas villages everywhere, but to me, these lack the putz charm of yore.
Thank goodness, the old hand-crafted paper and often crude putz structures from last century have been rediscovered and are being reproduced today. The two houses that I purchased were handmade here in the States. To see my second sparkly house, click on the link below.
Quirky Christmas decorations. I’ve always loved the quirky seasonal decorations that can easily be overlooked while driving down any street in the Park Cities. Each year in late autumn I replace the three Fabian Aralia trees on the ledge of my front porch wall with three dwarf Alberta Spruce trees which I then decorate for Christmas. My unprofessional decor takes no more than thirty minutes to complete and doesn’t cost me a dime. I love it, and it makes me smile. The next time you’re in my hood, drive by slowly–like ten miles an hour. Only then will my Christmas greeting catch your eye. Don’t blink! Otherwise you’ll miss it.