GRINNELL, IA — Jewell Kintzinger Day first saw someone’s Santa Doll Collection in 1983.
She was hooked, from that point on.
Now her home in Grinnell is filled with some 471 Santa dolls she has collected over the years. She has locally made “Sticks” art Santa Clauses to ones by various artists from all over the world.
It all started when she was a child, Kintzinger got some advice from her father. “My dad always said you gotta be good and Santa would come but don’t ask for too much,” she remembers. She likes to remember seeing Santa in her house when she was a little girl. “They closed the doors and I peeked under, and I saw santa in his red outfit,” she recounts. “It was just my imagination,” she adds.
She has the Santa dolls from many different artists. Some dolls she purchased while traveling to places like Europe, or Arizona. Each year she holds a big Christmas party for people to see her doll collection.
To get the dolls on display each year she has four or five friends come to help. They can get them all out of storage in one morning. They then arrange the Santa Clauses all through her house. The even stretch into the bathroom.
Kintzinger loved Santa so much, she even married one. Her husband Burt Day, actually played Santa for decades at towns in Iowa. “Her collections encompasses the fact that there are many different ideas about Santa, said Day. “Different artists, different creators have different ideas how to represent Santa.
Kintzinger is known for her philanthropy and charity work in Grinnell. ” I just think that my mom shows the spirit of giving not just at Christmas but all throughout the year,” said Wendy Lentz, Kintzinger’s daughter. “The Santas kind of represent who she is as a person. it always giving back to people.”