Photo by Gavin Ashworth
St. Nicholas but without his glory? Minus his clerical robes and gifts for small tots? My husband found our Santa , dirty and dusty, minus his cap, in an old barn in Chesapeake Virginia for the price of $4.00.
He has delighted many children by appearing in a Toy Show at a local house museum at Christmas. The museum folks fashioned him a new cap, and I placed a fun badge on his red velvet coat making him a bit of a hippie? His very blue eyes can be startling to little ones! We use him for a centerpiece at Christmas atop one of our early cupboards, surrounded by old dolls and tin pull toys.
Santa has a original red velvet coat and blue velvet pants. His hands are made of felt….his boots a leatherlike material, his face is painted and the material molded into a face with a white beard…..take off the cap and he is BALD!!! His body is stuffed with straw.
A visiting grandson told me that he was afraid of this Santa’s stern look. Well, sometimes Santa can be stern. As a small child, I remember a younger brother taking his sock down from the mantel it was filled with coal, no less! I felt so sorry for him, as did his other siblings, that we gladly shared our stocking contents with him. Usually, the stockings (our own by the way….no fancy velvet stockings in those days!) contained some unwrapped hard candy, which melted some from the heat of the Warm Morning coal stove, a tangerine, and a few nuts.
Santa also brought the Christmas tree when I was a child. The tree was a Virginia cedar, found in the woods, or along the banks of our unpaved clay road. Virginia still boasts many cedars in this neck of the woods. They were used to mark property lines on the farms.
Santa also decorated the tree. Perhaps we children made paper ropes, but Santa supplied the German made glass bulbs, the ice cicles, and the angel or the star for the top of the tree. And there was a little wooden fence surrounding the tree, and inside the fence was cotton batting....and on the cotton were little fuzzy sheep….and of course, there was a creche with Mary, Joseph and the Infant. Christmas was a wonderful time. We never questioned Santa’s generosity….after all, he had to give toys to boys & girls all over the world….and we were lucky he didn’t just fly over our house and go on his Merry way!