Santa brings more than gifts for one woman

Published 4:49 pm Saturday, December 22, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


For Jo Fite, she never dreamed of having a large collection of Santa Claus throughout her home.

How the collection began is a story of heartbreak for her and the love her son has for her.

Sixteen years ago, Jo lost her mother unexpectedly. Exactly seven months later, she lost her husband from injuries suffered in an auto accident. Then four months later, her dad passed away.

“That was three in 11 months,” Jo said. “My son kept saying, ‘How are we going to get you through this, mom?’ and he bought me Santa.”

Each year, her son, Kyle, selects one or two more Santas for her. Each figure, ranging from one foot to four feet in height, tells a story from Jo’s life.

“When I was younger, there was this old car in the barn,” Jo said as she told the story behind a Santa sitting on the table in her den. “We thought we were so big playing in the car. My son recalled me talking about it and brought me this Santa.”

Old St. Nick is arriving in a horseless carriage decorated in holly and Christmas lights as the vehicle is overflowing with presents for good boys and girls.

A special Santa stands approximately four feet tall next to a miniature Grandfather clock.

“As you can tell, I love clocks,” Jo said.

Not only does the clock tell time and decorated with white lights and holly, but it also plays a tune.

“I do let it play often,” Jo added.

Along a window seal are three smaller Santas, which Jo describes as the ways Santa has traveled over the years; by horse-driven carriage, a car and by train.

Each one brings a fresh, new smile to Jo’s face as she tells the story behind this one or that one, such as the one she describes as Depression Era Santa to the Crazy Cajun Santa.

With approximately 32 Santas, that is a great many smiles and Christmas morning is sure to bring one more happy memory with a new tale to share.