The Erzgebirge region of Germany was the largest Christmas item and toy supplier in the world in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The Erzgebirge villages of Schneeberg, Olbernhau, Annaberg and Seiffen were the most famous of all producing Christmas items as early as 1830-1840. Pyramids were the first items produced. A typical pyramid has three levels, each level has a different scene and is powered by candles. These were followed by smokers, nutcrackers, Schwibbogen arches, nativities, and the most collectable – miniature horse drawn carts, sleds, animals, people and houses. This was a cottage industry which the entire family from small children to grandparents were involved. Families became known for the particular product they produced. Some families carved strictly animals while others made carts or pyramids. These items were hand painted and all have a wonderful folk art charm. Each piece is slightly different. Wood carved Christmas items and toys are still produced in the Erzgebirge region today in the same time honored tradition as generations before.
Germany gave us the Christmas traditions we know and love today. Some Erzgebirge carved pieces were hung on trees, while Schwibbogen arches and pyramids were placed in windows. The most sought after pieces are carts, animals, people and houses. These were used to create a Christmas putz.