Several holidays ago, a miniature Christmas greenhouse caught my gardener’s eye. It was under $10 so I bought it. Next year, I found another one, so I did the same thing. And again, a year later. Then I realized I couldn’t buy a miniature greenhouse every year for the rest of my life, so I stopped. But I did buy a few extra pieces: a gazebo, an outhouse (I do have a particular fondness for them), and some snow shovels.
For a few years, I displayed them every holiday in our dining room.
Then one year, I forgot to get them out. (Actually I stowed them in the bottom of my Edwardian china hutch – a decorating travesty – where they stayed for a few years, and then last year I finally packed them away in their boxes when I revamped the hutch. )
New house, new resolve to get cracking on my Christmas decorating made me think of those greenhouses, and I made a mental note to get them out and display them.
Over Thanksgiving, I got a wild hair to see if there were any new (or newer) greenhouses or something else outdoorsy – like a miniature Christmas tree lot or frozen pond. So I went on eBay to find out. The next thing I knew I had fallen down a virtual rabbit hole and was ogling and coveting entire miniature villages.
What the what???
I am SO not a miniature village person. I have friends who do this, and I love admiring their intricate setups, but it is so. not. me. Or so I thought, before I learned these two interesting tidbits:
Tidbit #1. Miniature Christmas villages started out made of paper, originating in Germany, then later imported from Japan; they were called “putz” back in their heyday (mainly between the two world wars), and they were all the rage. Now those dimestore novelties are extremely rare and expensive. (And nowadays, the word “putz” doesn’t mean what it used to mean, so be careful if you try it out in a crowd – you may get some odd looks.)
Tidbit #2. In the last decade, there were entire Christmas villages created around two of my all-time favorite holiday movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Christmas Story.” Everything from Higbee’s department store in Cleveland to Gower’s Drugstore in Bedford Falls, replete with figures of George and Mary Bailey and their friends and family, and of course Ralphie and his brother Randy and the infamous leg lamp. Most of those pieces are readily available on eBay. For collector’s prices, of course.
I am going to be picky. I am not going to be a putz. Or a putz collector/hoarder.
The only pieces I really, REALLY want are Ralphie’s house and school (Grover Cleveland Elementary) and the frozen flagpole from “The Christmas Story;” and the Granville house (remember the scene when Mary winds up in the hydrangea bush?) from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And maybe a country house with a porch like ours. And that’s it, I promise. Not even another greenhouse, because I know my limitations.
Okay, maybe a mailbox or a birdhouse or a frozen pond, too.
And I’m even willing to bide my time until I get what I want at the price I am willing to pay. Even if it means not having it all in place for a few more Christmases.
I think so, anyway. I’m not a putz and I’m not going to putz around with Christmas putz too much. After all, there are cards to mail, cookies to bake, lights to untangle, carols to sing….