These guys weren't exactly collected, just accumulated. Or they collected me, especially after others decided it was a collection and started adding to it --- uninvited. One Santa leads to another.
The embossed and lithographed old elf in the over-the-top frame was sent to my great-grandmother as a Christmas greeting postcard before the turn of the 20th century. It was printed in Germany, as many early holiday cards were.
The little guys at left are musical, although the ceramic exteriors are in much better shape than the jerry-built mechanisms inside. So are the two below. The musical repertoire of Christmas bric a brac is disappointingly limited. They all play, you guessed it, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
Where all of the little Santas below came from, I can't remember. It's almost as if they spontaneously reproduced during the off-season while wrapped in tissue paper. There are more of these that didn't make it on stage this year.
The Santa on the left below is pure evil --- look at those eyes. The jolly one on the right, however, spends much of the year reading. Although you can't see it here, there's a book bag on his back. He's one of the good guys.
I love the flag-waving Santa. He was among the great wave of patriotic kitsch the flowed out of China and elsewhere overseas toward American shores after Sept. 11, 2001. I also collected a memorable G.I. Joe standing beside the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at about the same time, but gave him away later.
Santa here is musical, too. I like to wind him up during the Christmas season, listen to a bar or two of "God Bless America" and think of Kate Smith.