by Tamera Lynn Kraft
Ever wonder what those villages people decorate Christmas with are called and what they have to do with Christmas? Wonder no more. They are called The Christmas Putz. I found this out when I was researching for my Christmas novella.
My novella, A Christmas Promise, is about a Moravian family celebrating Christmas in Schoenbrunn Village in Ohio around 1773. The Moravian children had a custom of making a Christmas Putz. Sometimes it would be simple with the Nativity scene made with pinecones. Other times, it was quite elaborate with more pieces being added every year.
The Putz is different than a basic Nativity scene because it is used as a teaching tool. The Nativity with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus is the central part of it, but it also includes animals and the wise men. Many Putz of that time would also include Moses delivering the children of Israel to remind the children that Passover was a symbol of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. They also included other Biblical scenes and sometimes would add Christmas villages.
Today, the Biblical scenes in most Putz are made up of elaborate Christmas villages. There are churches and houses, along with small shops. The Biblical scenes are a thing of the past. Whatever is included in the Putz, it isn’t really a Putz unless the manger scene with Jesus is the central theme since Christmas is all about Him.
By Tamera Lynn Kraft
A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773
During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.
When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.
Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.
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