As reported by The Root, Crystal Kittles received her first Black Santa as a housewarming gift from her husband. After his death, she continued to build the collection and now owns hundreds of dolls.
“So many different ones, but I’ve never taken the time to count them,” she said, as reported by WPVI. “To me, it’s not always about the gifts. It’s just about the gathering, just seeing each other enjoying each other.”
Kittles’ collection includes a saxophone-playing Santa, a Malibu Beach Santa, a rapping Hip-Hop Santa, and a six-foot-tall Santa statue, according to WPVI.
Here’s more from the report:
Once every two years, Kittles unearths the collection and invites community members for a seasonal open house. It has become a tradition to gather all the children and grandchildren for a day filled with Christmas music, food, and decorating.
“I would have the church members come out and they can bring their children, their grandchildren,” she said. “We just sit back and enjoy the spirit of the holiday.”
Kittles, an educational assistant in the Cherry Hill School district, now has grandchildren of her own. She says that displaying her diverse array of Black Santa trinkets has earned a new meaning.
“I think it’s very important that they see it and they can identify with it,” she said. “It helps them to be proud. They can say, ‘Okay, I can be anything. I can be anyone.’”
“It’s great to have that tradition and something that we’re able to share with them and the representation it brings for them to see someone who looks like them,” says Kittles’s son, Isaac Ware. “It can be shared amongst everybody. Santa is for everyone.”