TOLEDO MAGAZINE

Santa's in town -- year-round

12/8/2013
BY TAHREE LANE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Vickie Christenson with two of her most recent acquisitions. She won them in the recent auction at the Delta Public Library.
Vickie Christenson with two of her most recent acquisitions. She won them in the recent auction at the Delta Public Library.

Two Santa Claus ornaments on Mrs. Christenson's always-up tree. The one on the left is made from crushed pecan shells.
Two Santa Claus ornaments on Mrs. Christenson's always-up tree. The one on the left is made from crushed pecan shells.

A snatch of a holiday tune sometimes floats out of the little third-floor room in Vickie and Lynn Christenson’s home: a wind-up music box is discharging its last few, cheery notes.

The Santa room in their rural Fulton County abode is full of his face and form in items made of plastic, pewter, glass, wood, clay, beeswax, wool, cotton, polyester, LEGOS, papier mache, reeds, steel, slate, tin, and soap.

The top of a table lamp is adorned with a Santa finial. He’s on afghans draped on chairs, Santa pillows, and rugs. His ornaments cover a tree.

From Georgia hails a Santa ornament made of crushed pecan shells pressed into a mold. From the 50th state is Santa lounging on a beach chair.

Mrs. Christenson hadn’t set out to create an elf shelter.

“It ballooned on me. It wasn’t my intent,” she said.

Cookie presses, Pez dispensers, wall hangings, clocks, Coke-bottle Santas. Pencils and pens, baskets. Teapots, coffee and cocoa mugs, jam jars, Coke bottles, and glasses. Napkins, tablecloths, towels, dishes, cookie jars, serving platters.

Lizzy Pennington, 11, with a cloth book of
Lizzy Pennington, 11, with a cloth book of "The Night Before Christmas" which she and her grandmother, santa hobbyist Vickie Christenson, used to read aloud.

“I don’t even know how I started collecting,” she said. It began after she went to the auction of her grandmother’s belongings. “I got all her Christmas stuff,” much of it vintage 1960s and ’70s.

There are books aplenty.

“If one of the grandkids wants to read a Christmas story in the middle of July, we come up here and do it.” The tree is always festooned.

Granddaughter Lizzy Pennington’s favorite is a cuddly fabric version of The Night Before Christmas.

The couple’s three children, six grandchildren, siblings, and friends enjoy feeding the beast.

“I get gifted with a lot of things. It’s fun to see what people come up with.”

A favorite is the two-foot-tall robot Santa on wheels, a tray on his head. Operated by remote control, it delivers beverages. And speaking of holiday cheer, there are wine-bottle covers, bottle stoppers, and an unopened bottle that shows the flying sleigh through the pale light of zinfandel. The cork’s imprinted with “Ho, Ho, Ho.”

Vickie Christenson's husband Lynn found this Santa in a shop in southern Ohio.
Vickie Christenson's husband Lynn found this Santa in a shop in southern Ohio.

“And then of course my husband got in on it.”

A Santa key. Candles and tapers.

Sweatshirts, T-shirts, sweaters, button covers. Scarves and hats, earrings, necklaces, bracelets. “I don’t think I have a ring.”

Pajamas, slippers, quilts, pillow cases. There’s more in boxes.

Underwear?

“Yes we do.”

She’ll get the 25th annual Holiday Barbie soon; it will join the others, in their boxes, on shelves in the third-story stairwell.

A Santa toilet-brush holder? She wouldn’t dream of not setting it out.

Contact Tahree Lane at tlane@theblade.com and 419-724-6075.