No shortage of Santas

Maggie Sands has a ho-ho-whole lot of Santas going on in her Burbank home — more than 600 Santa Claus collectibles, actually.

The first hint that this homeowner really loves the jolly old gift giver is the many likenesses of him set up in her front yard.

Large candy canes are placed on either side of the walkway up to the front porch. A 9-foot blow-up of old Saint Nick welcomes guests up the steps to the front door.

Once inside, all four walls around the living room are covered with displays of every Santa Claus collectible imaginable, starting at 1 1/2 inches tall.

“It’s fun — I really enjoy it,” Sands said about the collection. “I had a few when I moved in here in 1977 with my husband, Tom Sands. And then I’d get them for decorations and then ordered them out of catalogs and received them as gifts from family and friends.”

She’s never counted them, because it would be too big of a job, she said.

“My grandkids have tried to count them, but they give up before they can finish,” she said.

More Santas fill shelves around the dining room, including a Santa on a gondola that she bought while on vacation in Rome. And the Christmas tree is covered in Santa decorations.

In the kitchen, there are more than 15 cookie jars — some with Santas in aprons. There are Santa salt and pepper shakers she acquired in 1969, a soap dish, and the sink stopper has a Santa face smiling up at the one doing dishes.

Even the bathroom has his jolly countenance on the toilet seat cover and shower brush.

Her favorite is a Santa at a workbench making toys.

“I got it in Glendale off Brand in 1992,” she said.

While the decorations keep the season jolly, Maggie Sands said she doesn’t ignore the importance of it.

“This is the main guy,” she said, pointing to a Santa kneeling in front of the baby Jesus in the manger, the only decoration on the coffee table. “I didn’t forget what Christmas is all about.”

Christmas morning is very special, said her daughter Korey Janke of Burbank.

“She makes Christmas wonderful for all of us,” Janke said. “We come in our jammies, and my mom’s got slippers with Santa on them. We have a big breakfast, and Uncle Mark [Land] cooks the huevos con chorizo.”

Three generations, more than 15 people, pack the house early in the morning.

“I have a ham and Mexican hot chocolate, and everyone wears Santa hats,” Maggie Sands said.

The rest of the day, she has an open house with friends and neighbors stopping by.

Granddaughter Emily Albrecht’s favorite decoration of all is the stocking that hangs above the fireplace. It has Santa Claus holding a doll and teddy bear.

“I think everybody adores their stockings,” Albrecht said.

And each is very elaborately decorated, Janke said.

“She watches TV while she sews the decorations on them,” she said. “She’s made about 25 stockings. She’s very handy, my mommy.”

Maggie Sands, whose maiden name is Gomez, is a longtime Burbank resident. She graduated from Burbank High School in 1949, and she serves on the reunion committee that is planning its 60th reunion next year.

She and her brother, Bob Gomez, and two sisters, Minnie Dilbeck and Carmen Ferrente, are former owners of El Chiquito restaurant in Burbank.


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