Middle of January and Santa Claus is still meandering along the back roads of Georgia. Everywhere else in the world he makes his Christmas Eve journey, goes home to the North Pole then grabs his swim suit and hops in his Lear Sleigh and flies off to Tahiti for a long winter’s nap. And some well deserved R and R.
At least that’s the tradition as seen in a lot of places. Here in Georgia, and I’m told in much of the South, there is a tradition that calls for all good folks to have all of their Christmas decorations removed by New Year’s eve. Else ill fortune should befall them.
When I was growing up we had a different tradition. I never was sure where it came from . On Christmas Eve day we would put up our Christmas tree. It may have been sitting in a bucket of water in the garage or barn for weeks, but it never came into the house until Christmas Eve. It was decorated in the late afternoon, before church. And it would stand in the living room, glowing and shining until January sixth. The day of Epiphany. The day the Wise men finally showed up to see Jesus in the manger.
Over the years I’ve compromised some. The tree goes up right after Thanksgiving, and stays up until January sixth. A long time.
But here, in the middle of January, it’s all gone. It was surprising then that while driving down the back roads today, headed toward South Georgia, I saw Santa Claus.
Not the real one. He really is in Tahiti. And not a blow up one. It was a plastic Santa. A blow mold Santa.
I love these things. They remind me of the fifties and sixties. Whenever I see one I stop to look. There are bigger than life ones, tiny ones and every size in between. Sometimes he has a sack full of toys. Sometimes it’s just him. He may be waving. Or chuckling. So many different ones. But they all have a red suit, black belt and white fur trim.
With no shame, or sense of boundaries, I have been known to stop at the sight of a blow mold Santa to take a picture. Even to inquire with the homeowner if they would be interested in selling the figure. No such luck.
People who put blow molds in their yards either know what they are and value them highly, or are very sentimentally attached. In neither case never will they sell them. Among mid century enthusiasts, blow molds are quite a treasure.
There are nutcrackers, toy soldiers, angels, nativity entourages, reindeer, sleighs with reindeer, snowmen of all sorts, and anything else that is in any way related to Christmas. To make it all so much better, blow molds have found their way into every major holiday. Trust me, my sister has one for everything. Or I should say, several hundred representing everything. A tad over the top perhaps.
This day, in South Georgia, Santa was still standing cheerfully on the front porch of some lucky families home. Maybe they keep him there to bring them joy. Or maybe because it’s too hard to pack him up for the year. But for whatever reason, he was there for me to see. And enjoy.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?