According to legend, the familiar Santa Claus figure may have been inspired by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Some historians suggest that political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, designed the first Santa by “taking a minor Central European folk saint, dimly recalled from his German childhood… coming down the chimney and shaking with joy… ” President Lincoln apparently commissioned Thomas Nast to create a holiday figure to improve the flagging morale of the Union troops during a particularly harsh December. A more popular version suggests that the characteristic jolly Santa emerged from a Coca Cola ad in 1931.
Whatever version of history is correct, Lynn Haney has been making Santa collectibles from his studio in Lubbock, Texas since 1987. These beautifully crafted Santa’s reflect the many faces of Christmas. Every Santa tells a unique story or inspires a winter theme that resonates with collectors of all ages. Each year, Lynn introduces several new Santas that capture great Christmas traditions or plays on a winter or color theme. Last year, for instance, he introduced the Santa with a Pickle. This delightful 18″ Santa captures a popular German tradition of hiding a pickle in the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Early next morning while the adults are sipping hot chocolate – or, perhaps something stronger – the children will be combing the tree to find the pickle before they can open their presents.
Most of Lynn’s Santas are 18″ tall and are generally priced from $330 to $360 depending on the level of detail and design. While limited edition and larger Santas are also produced each year, the 18″ Santa has proved to be the most popular among Lynn’s ardent collectors. Leading stores in the United States, such as Neiman Marcus, carry Lynn Haney Santas, but there are many smaller boutiques and specialty stores that personally cull Lynn’s new offerings each year to select Santa’s that resonate with their clients.
Collecting Haney Santa’s is habit-forming. The craftsmanship is superb and once you have been seduced by their beauty, you simply must purchase one for each family member. Indeed, most ardent collectors continue to purchase the “latest” Lynn Haney Santa as a hand-me-down for their children.
While most serious collectors tend to shop exclusively with boutiques that are well-versed in the preferences of their clients, the Internet has also proved to be a useful resource to find limited edition and some of Lynn’s earlier work. Unfortunately, many websites promote Lynn Haney Santas, but very few actually stock them. Buyers are well advised to call before making a purchase online and to deal only with trusted resources. Add to your holiday traditions by purchasing a Lynn Haney Santa. His Santa is one holiday guest that doesn’t outlive its welcome.