Here comes Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Santa Claus ...Jamestown woman can’t get enough of St. Nick figurinesIf Santa Claus is coming to town, he’ll be sure to stop at retired teacher Jan Olson’s house. And if he does, he’ll blend right in with her collection of Santa paraphernalia.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
If Santa Claus is coming to town, he’ll be sure to stop at retired teacher Jan Olson’s house. And if he does, he’ll blend right in with her collection of Santa paraphernalia.
“Let’s just say I do more decorating for Christmas time than any other time,” Olson said, referring to the hundreds of Santa Claus figures and items displayed in her home.
The Santa Clauses include Mr. and Mrs. Claus; mouse, deer and bear Santas; Santa shorts, slippers and aprons; Santa candies, teapots and tins; and whimsical Santas who snore, blow bubbles or dance.
Her Santa figurines range in height from a couple of feet to teeny tiny Santas just half an inch tall. There are black Santas and white Santas, and Santas wearing red, royal blue, white and even mauve.
“It has been fun, fun collecting and trying to find things to add to my collection,” Olson said.
The smiling face of St. Nick can be found in every room in her condo except for the furnace room. Even the hallway is decked out with Santa Claus greeting cards, and the toilet seat cover in Olson’s guest bathroom forms the face on another Santa. The rug around the bottom of the stool forms the rest of Santa’s body.
There are so many Santas that Olson is running out of room for all of them, after many years of collecting. She started in the late 1970s or early 1980s, she said.
“I have a magnet for Santas. I notice them when other people would just walk by,” Olson said.
Some of them are quick purchases from local thrift stores for 49 cents, and others are more upscale fare, though as far as Olson knows, the most expensive one probably cost about $75.
“Most of mine are not really expensive,” she said. “For the average Joe, my collection is, in most cases, doable.”
Some of her Santas have been gifts from friends, and a few, such as a fiber optic Santa with multicolor lights, have been gifts from her nephew and his wife, Lonnie and Marga Carlson, of Bismarck.
“I think the thing is that for a lot of people … seeing jolly old St. Nick gives a person kind of an uplifting feeling, and makes them happy,” said Olson, describing why she collects Santa Clauses.
Olson, who taught math to students in grades 4-6 before she retired in 1986, has a few other collections as well — spoons, teddy bears, apple figurines and Calumet baking powder cans, as well as plates, egg beaters, flour sifters and potato mashers.
Some of the Santas stay out all year round, but Olson stores many of them in flat boxes in a storage room and in closets, each carefully labeled and all highly organized.
Decorating her spacious condo with Santa paraphernalia is time-consuming, Olson said, but it is fun, too, because with each Santa she takes out, she remembers the person who gave it to her, and how he or she chose a special little gift for the collection.
“That’s heart-warming,” she added.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org