Long time Chai & Home readers are well familiar with my Snowy Shtetl Hanukkah decor. If you are a new reader, go check it out. Little did I know at the time, the Snowy Shtetl as a concept for Hanukkah decor has really captured the imagination of many of you. I think the idea of little houses at Hanukkah is popular is because it replicates our celebration tradition in miniature. The central mitzvah of Hanukkah is to light the menorah and place it in the window to publicize the miracle. A series of little illuminated houses creates a microcosm of that. Now that Crate and Barrel has discontinued their laser cut wooden village though, I’m getting a lot of email on what to use to create your very own Snowy Shtetl. Here are a few resources to look for if you are thinking of making your own.
Galvanized Steel & Metal Houses
I’m loving steel houses because their grey appearance really replicates the cold, dismal loneliness that the shtetl seems to convey in pictures. The great thing about metal houses is that you can place a tea light inside and illuminate them. My grandfather said they had a dirt floor in the shtetl so I really love how the ones below don’t have a bottom.
- Pottery Barn’s Galvanized Village Houses are probably the best quality you can find. They come in 5 styles and start at $29.50.
- Target has a couple of houses starting at $10.00.
- Bed Bath and Beyond has their Beekman 1802 houses in three styles from $14.99.
Little Ceramic Houses
Ceramic is another really nice option and is typically less expensive than steel. Ceramic is definitely more modern in appearance and less rustic than steel, but like steel, you can illuminate them.
- Crate and Barrel has little ceramic houses in 5 styles starting at $14.95.
- Target’s Bud Vase Houses by Magnolia come in white and black…ooh black. From $6.99.
- West Elm has their Ceramic Cityscape Houses in 2 styles from $29.00. My Snowy Tenement anyone?
Little Wood Houses
Wood houses are a little harder to come by. The big craft stores have wooden bird houses for cheap, but they don’t really hit the right tone IMHO. If you are handy with wood, you can actually make your own wooden houses probably pretty easily. The benefit to that is you can paint or stain them any color you wish and with as much detail as you want. See “little wood houses” in Pinterest for inspiration. The drawback of wood is that they aren’t easy to illuminate because they are made of wood, which is highly flammable.
So, I hope the list above helps you get started on your own Snowy Shtetl. If you find other sources, tell us about them by sharing in the comments below.