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Santa is a legendary figure and a classic feature of the holiday season. Most of us have wonderful childhood memories about Santa. While reindeer, elves, and Mrs. Claus all have a place in our holiday celebrations, Santa remains the most prominent character of Christmas festivities.
It should come as no surprise that Annalee has made Santa a centerpiece of our holiday collections and Christmas decor. Take a look at how Annalee Santas have evolved through the years and meet our 2016 Santas.
Santa was first added to Annalee’s collection in the 1950s. The original first design was 12-inches tall and featured a bean for Santa’s nose. Annalee’s creativity shined when she created his shoe soles from pieces of linoleum flooring to get Santa to stand. The early Santas were cleverly stuffed and depending on their size could contain a Styrofoam ball, shredded foam rubber or a rolled Dacron to form a jolly belly!
Our Santa designs evolved between the 1950s and 1970s and a selection of sizes was introduced. The 30-inch Santas had wire ‘spurs’ coming out of the back of their feet to help them stand.
Santa’s face and beard have seen the most changes through the decades. Early Annalee Santa designs had very short beards with mustaches printed on. The boots were also not as detailed as they are today. Typically they were one piece of felt that laid over the wire foot.
FUN FACT: In 1965, a 26-inch Santa in a sleigh design, which also included eight 26-inch reindeer, sold to wholesalers for $67.50. Today a similar set would wholesale for $475!
1963 Christmas Line
1972 Christmas Line
Once Santa debuted as an Annalee doll, it was clear he was going to be a star! As crafting advanced and the business grew in the 1980s, Santa became a much bigger part of Annalee’s holiday line. The design team at Annalee worked to make his boots more realistically detailed and even began using fir for the mustache. Stuffing was used to to help construct the bodies in the mid-1980s, giving Santa a more fluffy appearance. It wasn’t until the 1990s, however, that Annalee Santas got their longer and fuller beards.
If you have vintage Annalee Santas, studying their beards, boots, and faces can be a tell tale sign of when they were created.
Since the 1990s Annalee Santas have become more contemporary. Every year new holiday collections introduce new Santas. While a classic Santa costumed in his traditional red and white has always been a staple in the holiday collection, Santa designs now include a variety of whimsical themes. In the 2016 Holiday Collection, Santa can be, seen taking off with his reindeer, baking, gathering snowballs, checking his “Good Boy & Girls List,” and even feeding his reindeer.
Our collectors enjoy adding to new Santas to their collections year after year. Annalee designers study past designs and work to bring new and unique Santas to each new holiday collection.
For over 60 years, Annalee Santas have been spreading holiday joy and “ho,ho,ho” spirit. As you set up your holiday decor this season and enjoy family gatherings, we hope the magic of Santa and Annalee fills your home.
From all of us at Annalee, we wish you a Merry Christmas!