Surrounded by Santas
Norma Jones isn't quite sure how it happened, but somehow, she ended up with hundreds of Santa Claus figurines and dolls.
She has all kinds of Santas — from tin to wax and everything in between.
"They're warm and friendly," she laughs as she admires her Santas, which are carefully displayed around her living room.
Her Santa Claus collection, or hoarding, she admits, began in 1954. She moved from Iowa to Prineville with her husband, Dr. Evan Jones, and their 2-year-old daughter in September of that year. That Christmas season, she got her first Santa.
"I bought a little bitty ceramic flower container with a Santa on it, and that was what started it all," she says. "People have given me Santas, and I have bought a few. Dr. Jones bought me a few, and I honestly don't know where they all came from."
But each December, she enjoys admiring each one as she takes it out of storage.
In more recent years, she's had her son help her by hauling the tubs upstairs and then after Christmas, hauling them back down stairs — he isn't interested in decorating.
"It's a chore, but it's fun," Jones says. "It takes probably four or five days to get them set up. But this year, with my vision being so poor, I couldn't greet each one to make sure its beard was down and that type of thing."
She suspects she has more than 200 of the jolly Christmas fellows – and not all of them are on display in her home this season.
"My vision is so poor anymore that I couldn't get the little bitty ones on the shelf," she says. "It seemed like I was always knocking stuff over, so I just left them in the container and put them back out in the garage."
But each one that made it out this year has a story to tell.
Her first one, the flower pot Santa, she bought at the Ben Franklin store in Prineville along with a Nativity scene.
"This one my sister made and sent us for Christmas quite a few years ago," she says of a small doll Santa.
Her "Santas from Around the World" ceramic ornaments collection came from Emporium in Bend and from a catalog.
"This one had to have his face repaired. He got broken being put away in the basement," Jones said about a large Santa statue.
She was shopping one Christmas with one of her daughters when they saw him.
"She says, 'Oh, Mom, you've got to have him!' I said, 'Honey, he's too much money.' She said, 'You either buy him or I'm going to get arrested for shoplifting,'" Jones laughs. "So, I had to buy him."
She's bought several Santas from the PEO Christmas bazaar – and she always gets first dibs because she's a PEO member.
"Joan Gerke loved yard sales. A lot of the little ones she would see and bring me," Jones says of her late friend. "And Diane Hayes, well, she'd see a Santa, and she'd bring it to me. It got outta hand."
Over the years, Jones has done quite a bit of entertaining and enjoys sharing her Santa collection with her holiday guests.
But perhaps nobody enjoys the hundreds of Santa Clauses quite as much as she does.
"I don't think there's anything special about any of them except I love them all," she giggles.