Note: This is an archive of "Papa" Ted Althof's online tribute to cardboard Christmas "putz" houses and their history. At Ted's request, this archive was established in early 2012.
For more information, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

- "Papa Ted's Place Archive!"
Frequently Asked Questions - Updated for 2014

Christmas village houses display

Freqently Asked Questions - Udated for 2014

After years of acting, performing music, and collecting and writing about his favorite Christmas traditions, "Papa" Ted Althof succumbed to illness, on October 29, 2012, but not before he asked us to maintain this archive of his life's work and to thank us for it when it was up and running.

For several years, Ted built and maintained the internet's most complete archive of information about "putz" houses - those little houses with the hole in the back for a Christmas light that decorated so many mantles and Christmas tree skirts between 1929 and about 1970. In late 2011, Ted asked us to maintain an archive of his materials in case his illness progressed faster than he expected.

We have been getting questions ever since about Ted, his site, and the products he offered for sale. So, in 2012, we published a "Frequently Asked Questions" page to help with some of the most common questions.

Update for 2014 - Returning to this page after two years, I realize that I have a far more complete picture of the topics that were originally presented here, so it's time for an update. So most sections of this page have been revised, some significantly. My apologies for any confusion.

What has happened to "Papa" Ted?

Though Ted died from lung cancer in October, 2012, he was aware of his prognosis many months before that, and had started winding things down on the site. Even after Ted knew his time was limited, he tried to keep things positive. But behind the scenes, he asked Paul Race to make and publish this archive of the site so Ted's life's work wouldn't disappear as soon as he was too sick to keep it up. Paul also put a discussion forum, just for Ted, on the forum pages, and Ted joined in a few times. But eventually he became too ill even for that. Still, we were all hoping he'd have a turnaround, right up until the last few painful weeks.

What has happened to "Papa" Ted's putz house and train collection?

When Ted died, his heirs found that his house was so full of his collections that they literally couldn't get through all of the rooms. They reached out to several collectors, e-bay sellers, and flea-market vendors to help them sort through it all. Because selling a large collection at once means you get less money than if you have time to put each piece on eBay separately, they didn't get as much out of the collection as they theoretically could have, but, then again, nobody who becomes the de facto curator of another person's valued collecton ever does, unless they are willing to abandon all of their other responsibilities and spend the next couple years on the internet. For more information on that dynamic, please see our article "What is the Value of My Collectible?"

A handful of houses that were in Ted's possession when he died were actually loaners, and their original owner spotted them on eBay and negotiated their return from the person who had bought them from the estate. The rest are in collections all over the country by now.

What has happened to "Papa" Ted's leftover windows and doors?

Several months before he died, Ted claimed that he was out of doors and windows and stopped taking orders. As it turns out, Ted's source had a big supply of them onhand, but Ted didn't want his readers to know he was too sick to take any more orders.

Not being printers ourselves, and working under the impression that Ted's stock of doors and windows had disappared, we created several resources to try to fill the gap. Those are on the Resource page. Some of the files depend on you having access to a color laser printer. Some depend on you having access to a programmable craftcutter (like a Silhouette). But we did what we could.

Eventually the person who had originally supplied most of the windows Ted sold passed much of the remaining stock on to Pete Oehmann, owner of Pete has also commissioned door and window types that Ted never sold. So if you don't want to mess with making your own, and you want the most authentic celophane windows, contact Pete through that site for your door and window needs.

Where can I get celophane windows and doors exactly like the ones Ted sold?

Contact Pete Oehmann, owner of

Where can I get printed paper doors and windows to replace missing or damaged ones on my putz houses?

We were intially told that Ted's original designs were lost, so we made our own versions and offered them free on our Printed resource page.

As it turned out, Pete Oehmann, owner of, was able to secure stock of the printed pieces Ted had been selling as well. As a professional printer, Pete can also print them on authentic vintage paper if you wish.

Can I make my own celophane windows?

Yes you can, more or less. Both Tom Hull and Antoinette Stockenberg have had success with home-made windows. Tom's tips are near the bottom of this page. Other tips from Tom as well as Antoinette's report are here

In addition, when we were told that Ted's windows would never be available again, we began making alternatives.

  • If you have a color laser printer, our Cello Sheets page has window patterns you can print on overhead projector stock with a laser printer, then layer to get a pretty authentic look.

  • If you have a craft-cutter that takes .SVG files, our Free SVG Files page gives you window cutout patterns you can use on electric craftcutters like Silhouette, Pazzles, and Sizzix Eclips. You may need to buy a copy of Sure-Cuts-A-Lot to use your cutter this way, though. Also, Cricuts can't be used this way at all.

Why do I get an unrelated advertising site when I go to PapaTedsPlace dot Com?

Because the fellow who handled hosting for Ted's original site allowed the domain name to lapse, and so many people were still hitting it, that "squatters" took over the domain name and are using it to make money by selling whatever they can link to.

Why do I sometimes get an unrelated page or "Page Not Found" page When I click on links within the archive?

Because Ted's original site was a labyrinth with a number of duplicate pages and links hidden in strange places. These included, not only "absolute links" to pages on the original site (which worked until the original domain was taken over by squatters), but also to backup sites that have also gone down.

When I reconstructed Ted's original site, I cross-checked by downloading EVERY page and graphic individually and following EVERY link and downloading whatever I found there as well. Every so often I still find a link that was buried in a weird place, though. I've done all sorts of searches to find them, but they still slip through.

If you click on a link and it takes you nowhere, please contact me and let me know:

  • The URL of the last good page you were on BEFORE you jumped to nowhere, and
  • Which link you clicked on

Thanks again for taking a look - Paul

For information about this site, please contact us at:

Copyright 2000-2012 Theodore H. Althof,Jr.Except where noted, the contents of this website and all it's pages and submissions therein contained are the intellectual property of Theodore H.Althof,Jr. All rights are reserved. (Background musical selections are,of course, excepted.)

This archive was set up at Ted's request in early 2012, and, except for critical updates and
announcements, will remain as Ted left it in October, 2012.
The archive is kept online with the help of volunteers from the following affiliated sites and resources:
- Christmas Memories and Collectibles -
Visit the FamilyChristmasOnline site. Visit our collection of resources for collecting, restoring, and making your own cardboard Christmas houses. Return to the OldChristmasTreeLights Welcome page Visit Howard Lamey's glitterhouse gallery, with free project plans, graphics, and instructions. Visit Papa Ted Althof's extensive history and collection of putz houses, the largest and most complete such resource on the Internet. Craft and collectibles blog with local news of Croton NY.
- Family Activities and Crafts -
Click to see reviews of our favorite family-friendly Christmas movies. Free, Family-Friendly Christmas Stories Decorate your tree the old-fashioned way with these kid-friendly projects. Free plans and instructions for starting a hobby building vintage-style cardboard Christmas houses. Free building projects for your vintage railroad or Christmas village. Click to find free, family-friendly Christmas poems and - in some cases - their stories.
- Trains and Hobbies -
Visit the Internet's largest resource on choosing and displaying Christmas trains. Visit Lionel Trains. Click to see Thomas Kinkaded-inspired Holiday Trains and Villages.
Learn about backyard railroading with Family Garden Trains
Click to see HO scale trains with your favorite team's colors.
Resources for O gauge and On30 model railroading
- Music -
Carols of many countries, including music, lyrics, and the story behind the songs Wax recordings from the early 1900s, mostly collected by George Nelson.  Download them all for a 'period' album.
Best-loved railroad songs and the stories behind them.
Heartland-inspired music, history, and acoustic instrument tips. Own a guitar, banjo, or mandolin?  Want to play an instrument?  Tips to save you money and time, and keep your instrument playable.
The struggles and influences of early Jesus Musicians and others who laid the groundwork for the Christian music and worship that is part of our lives today.