Santa Figurines

Written by Abby Luttrell
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Some of the most charming Christmas gifts and collectibles are Santa figurines. These figures can be made of porcelain, carved wood, or even hemp and straw. Folk art throughout Europe depicts jolly Santas, fat Santas, thin Santas, and even religious Santas.

After all, the very first Santa doll was inspired by a bishop of the Christian church, St. Nicholas of Myra, which is now Turkey. The peasants of Romania are known for their elaborate Santa figurines which are predominantly religous figures, a tradition believed to date back to the first St. Nicholas. Santa figurines in Germany and Czechoslovakia are sold at the month-long Christkindlmarkts, or Christmas fairs, held in cities and towns throughout December.

In America, Santa figurines and Santa dolls tend to depict the classic red-suited, fat, bearded gift-giver. In 1808 a story by Washington Irving described a St. Nick as a fat Dutchman with a long beard who smoked a long (Dutch) pipe and dropped gifts down chimneys. In 1931, Haddon Sundblom drew the first "Coca-Cola" Santa, which is the most popular American Santa Claus.

Victorian Santa Figurines Now Valuable

Santa figurines have now become expensive gifts and collectibles. Antique Santa figurines and other Christmas memorabilia such as snowmen and nativity sets have begun to fetch high prices at auctions. Some 19th century Victorian Santa dolls and snowmen are extremely valuable because of their excellent craftsmanship and their priceless Americana.

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