November 26, 2016
In the South, we like to decorate for the holidays.  All the holidays.  This is where I first saw an Easter-Egg tree and specialized autumn decor for September, October, and November.  Of course, nothing competes with December and its holiday season.  People began opening boxes and stringing lights down here before their Thanksgiving dinners were completely digested.  So when my friend, Edna said her badly injured back might keep her from putting out her “Santa Collection” I said I’d be glad to help.  I had no idea she suffered from In-Santa-Cy.
I walked into a house that, during Decembers, shelters two people, some plants, and approximately a thousand Santas.  My poor friend lay bound the couch by her TENS unit while her niece, Tanya, had been emptying a treasure trove of Santas from stacks of storage boxes  Santas made of wood, paper, plaster, and metal. Santa’s image imprinted on cloth.  Seriously, I don’t remember seeing this many images of Father Christmas when I went to Santa’s Workshop as a child.  
Don’t get excited folks; these are just the coffee-table Santas!
Kris Kringle was on everything: Santa towels, Santa spoon rests, Santa cups and hundreds of Santa statues.  I gulped a little and said, “Where can I help?” and was sent off to the library.
The book room played host the “Historical Santas”, statues of St. Nick from various countries made in different years.  There was a whole carton of international Santas and it took awhile to unpack and arrange them. I didn’t begin to photograph them all.

Who needs books, when you can shelve Santa?
It the exception of Brazil, we’re looking at a NATO of Santas
Good luck reaching a book before New Years!
Not my fault, this trio of Santas all moved
the moment I took the picture!
Hours later the house was bursting with Santas, there were still more boxes to unpack and I was seeing Edna in a different light.   What had turned this sweet, sane little woman into a full-fledged Santa groupie?
Another group of Kris Kringles, complete with holiday mouse.
She laughed saying her son called it her “InSantaty”.   Some of these images are souvenirs, some are gifts and others come from crafts she made with her children.  In other words, Santa is more than her ambassador of Christmas, he’s a talisman of memory.  Given Edna’s generous, sweet nature, I suspect he’s her role model too.  As far as role models go, she could go far and do worse.
So I went home to my husband and thought about our collection of 10,000 books, a few toys and some Wind-In-The-Willows figurines (4 moles, 2 water rats, 1 badger, 0 toads).  Yes, one person’s collectibles are another’s waste of time and money and, like most things, extreme collecting can be bad for the health.  But what someone collects says something about who they are and I can think of few characters more benevolent than Santa Claus.  So, in the interest of kindness and Peace on Earth, perhaps we could all use a touch of InSantaty.

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