Today, my 10 year old daughter and I worked on assembling some glitter houses from a Martha Stewart kit I found at Michaels. We had a lot of fun, and wil have more fun, as we add decorations and the all important glitter snow.
These little paper villages orignated in the Pennsylvania-Dutch part of the United States and were often laid out at the base of the Christmas tree. Great time and care was put into their arrangment and illumination, often with the centerpiece being the Bethlehem manger. In the evenings, it was the custom to visit and view these wonderful candle lit settings on Christmas Eve and often exchange gifts.
During the early to mid 20th century mass-produced villages, born of these origions, became popular displays, also known as putz, from the German verb putzen which means "to decorate". In many homes, more time and energy was put into setting up the putz than in decorating the family Christmas tree, growing more and more elaborate. Eventually trains were added as well.
After World War II, the Japanese started to mass-produce cardboard houses, churches and other buildings. Often these building had holes in the back, to allow a light to be placed inside and illuminate the tiny colored cellophane windows. Being inexpensive, they became very popular. It is along the lines of these more 'modern' houses that I hope to recreate.
I found a wonderful website, with very nice instructions and patterns, so you can make your own as well, if you wish. Perhaps it is too late for this Christmas, but imagine what you could create for next year! Please check out this site: Building A Glitter-House for some wonderful ideas!