Winterberry Farm Primitives

This blog is now devoted to gardening with native plants with a focus on those species native to the east coast of the United States. With an MS in Agricultural Science from the University of Delaware and my love of native plants, I hope to help folks see the beauty and necessity of using native plants in your garden instead of exotic plants. Did you know that our native song birds and native insects are disappearing as our local environments continue to change?
For those who come to this page to see my 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' blog can now be found at where I will post new additions to my online antiques shop at and discuss various subjects about primitive antiques.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The National Christmas Center in Paradise, PA

Hi everyone! As it gets closer and closer to Christmas Day, we decided to take a break from the craziness of shopping, baking and decorating the house. Within an hour from my house is the one and only National Christmas Center in Paradise. PA. I just love the name 'Paradise'! In many ways, Lancaster County, PA is a little bit of paradise with its large expanses of the farmland and its wonderful dark, black earth. Drive through this area in the early spring when the Amish farmers are turning the soil for planting and you will see a wondrous sight! But I digress! The National Christmas Center is housed in an old restaurant and banquet hall along Rt. 30 in Paradise and is the creation of Jim Morrison, a wonderful man who is looks like the 'Man' himself! I sometimes wonder if Mr. Morrison is around Christmas Eve or does he have another job to go to.....I can remember the old banqueting hall from many years ago and was pleasantly surprised to see the Christmas Center take over this old building that looks like an old Swiss chalet. As you probably know, I am always on the lookout for putz animals, especially sheep, for my Winterberry Farm Primitives customers and decided we had to go to the National Christmas Center because I was told that they have fantastic putz displays. So, off we went and all I can say is Wow! Wonderful, gorgeous, fantastic displays and a live Santa (besides Mr. Morrison) too! They have a recreation of a Woolworth's store and Santa's workshop.
They also have Tudor Towne for all of you who have ever been to the Christiana Mall in Newark, DE. A great place to take the kids if you live close enough and a great place to put on your wish list. The Center is open year round and is just as wonderful in July as it is in December. Now, to the putz displays; Lancaster and Montgomery Counties are two counties in Pennsylvania that were settled, in part, by the Moravians form Germany and Bohemia(Czech Republic)and they brought with them the tradition of putz displays. The word “putz” is from the German word “putzen” which means “to decorate, to adorn a church.” Originally, the putz consisted of wooden, clay, or tin figures arranged to depict the Nativity, the Holy Family, the shepherds, and the three kings. Lititz in Lancaster County and Bethlehem in Montgomery County are two towns where the tradition of the 'putz' continues today. If you go to my shop,, this month you will see a complete 19th century putz display set that would have been sold in stores in these two towns for use in either in large public putz displays or in smaller putz displays in private homes. It is a complete set and was probably never or rarely used as it is in remarkable condition.
I had many sleepless nights trying to decide how to sell it - break it up - as many dealers may - or try and keep it together to sell to a single collector? I finally decided, with the help from a friend, to keep it together and see what happened. I was lucky enough to sell it to a collector who promises to keep it together. She collects putz animals and was thrilled to find a set in great condition with its original box! So, I went to the National Christmas Center with great expectations of what I would find and I wasn't disappointed! Below you will see some pictures of a large public display that would have been seen in a church or other public venue. This display is huge and takes up an area that is at least 40-45 feet long by 15-20 feet wide! The 'mountains' in the back of the display are made of gessoed and painted fabric draped to look like mountains and the foreground - where the houses are located are also made from the same type of draped fabric. These displays would take days or weeks to build and would be magnificent in situ! The last picture is of a personal putz display in the front parlor of a home in Pennsylvania. I took these pictures myself, so I apologize in advance but it was a HUGE putz display! Until next time - enjoy and I hope you can make it to the National Christmas Center one day!!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures of the National Christmas Center! These displays are breath taking to say the least! I remember when I was young how my mom would take me to the Woolworth store in Keene, NH, where we would eat lunch at their counter and then do some Christmas shopping. ONE of my fond memories spending time with her before she passed.
    Those little villages are such a labor of love!