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Burbank resident celebrates Santa Claus with household collection

Maria Sands, 87 of Burbank, has been collecting Santa Claus toys and items for about 35 years, sitti
Maria Sands, 87, of Burbank has been collecting Santa Claus toys and items for about 35 years, sitting in her home on Tuesday. Sands has about 1,000 Santa Claus items.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

From about the start of the new year until Thanksgiving, Maria Sands’ house looks a lot like every other home in Burbank.

However, after Thanksgiving, her house in the 200 block of North Naomi Street transforms into a holiday haven for all items related to Santa Claus.

Unlike Burbank residents Dick and Pam Norton, who for the past 48 years have decorated their frontyard with hundreds of lights and handmade displays for the holiday just a block away in the 500 block of North Florence Street, Sands decorates her house with every Saint Nick-related memorabilia she has accumulated over more than 35 years.

On Tuesday, all of the more than 1,000 pieces of Santa Claus items — which ranged from stuffed toys, miniatures, ceramic figurines, wind chimes, wall ornaments, mugs and tree ornaments — were still neatly placed around the house, including in the kitchen and bathrooms.


There are even decorations placed throughout her frontyard, which Sands said garners the attention of many passersby.

Sands said the bedrooms are the only places in the house that don’t have any type of Santa decoration.

“That would be a bit much,” she said.

Sands said she and her family have been decorating her house with various renditions of Father Christmas for about 10 years, but her daughter, Korey Janke, said it has to be at least 20 years.


Janke said her mother has always liked having themes during the holidays. But once her mother decided to start collecting Santa memorabilia, Janke said the hobby snowballed into what it is today.

It first started with just family members gifting Kriss Kringle-based items to Sands, Janke said. However, Sands said her neighbors and people who would stop by year after year started giving her items to add to her collection, and some have even helped decorate.

The Santa decorations go up Thanksgiving weekend, and the work crew mainly involves Sands’ children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who take boxes of Santa items out of the garage and put the memorabilia in their usual spots or sometimes in new locations.

“When they’re all done, my mom goes through all the decorations and fine-tunes their placement,” Janke said.

Sands, who is 87 years old, added that she did not do much of the fine-tuning this year because of her health.

“I’m just grateful that they help put the decorations up,” Sands said.

Although Sands and her family have been decking her house’s halls with Santa Clauses for numerous years, Sands said that she might stop after the end of this holiday season.

However, Janke, who was sitting next to her mother Tuesday afternoon, said she and the rest of the family will do whatever they can to keep the tradition going.


Twitter: @acocarpio