Show us your . . . plastic Santas | Show us your [____] | Chicago Reader

Show us your . . . plastic Santas 

Each week, we ask you to show us something. This week it's Mercedes DiRenzo-Bolduc's plastic Santas.


"In the late 50s and early 60s you'd go to Woolworth's and they'd have these Santas with suckers sticking out of them," says Mercedes DiRenzo-Bolduc, an Edgebrook resident for whom the toys were childhood staples. "They'd be ten or 20 cents. Things weren't so expensive back then."

Every October, DiRenzo-Bolduc unpacks the boxes and boxes of carefully wrapped plastic Santas she has stored away and begins the process of filling two cabinets with them. This year she finished the task on Monday, December 5. How many does she have? "I never counted 'em!," she says, but the number is safely in the hundreds. The operator of cookie jar and retro kitchenalia shop Jazz'e Junque also has about 30 snowmen, which Woolworth's also used to sell for Christmas (along with reindeer, choir boys, and angels, but she hasn't gotten so into those).

One day last summer DiRenzo-Bolduc came across an 11-inch Santa holding up a wreath while she was shopping at an antique store, the only place you can find these statuettes, according to the collector. "Oh my god, it has the wreath. It never has the wreath," she said to her husband. It cost $125, but she talked the seller down to $100, and her husband bought the Santa that has since become one of her favorites. "I have a really nice husband," she says.

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