Christmas is for kids, they say, but during this season I am one big kid.

This is my time of the year. From the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Day, I revel in the holiday sights and sounds. I can’t get enough tinsel, glass ornaments, or holly. I get lost driving around admiring the houses strung with lights, and the smells of cinnamon and pine needles make me smile.

But what makes me giddy with joy is something else entirely — a collection I get to show off just once a year — my black Santas.

Gracing my home and office are my African-American crafted figures of wood, porcelain and cloth. They are outfitted in the traditional red and white Santa costume, as well as nontraditional white and silver, plus the multi colors of the black diaspora, with complexions that range from mocha latte to deep chocolate. My prized collectibles are posed doing various bits of Santa business — carrying glittering bags of gifts, reviewing long lists of those who’ve been good, even taking a milk and cookies break.

I’ve curated this collection for more years than I can remember — an obsession which began with a gift from one of our family friends, Mrs. Deborah Robinson. I remember we dropped in for a holiday visit when I was in high school or college. There, on the side table, was the first black Santa I’d ever seen, a porcelain, red-suited, pot-bellied fellow with a brown face. Mrs. Robinson explained that she’d made him, having never seen one before. As we said our goodbyes, she gave him to me. The rest is black history — black Santa history, that is.

Callie Shares Her Black Santa Collection (2017):

Since then, I’ve scoured craft stores, small vendors, vintage sales, Christmas-themed stores of all variety. Black Santas are hard to find, so I look throughout the year. My efforts have been rewarded with some uncommon finds, with friends and family joining in the search. Some of my latest comes courtesy of my sister, Jean, who has an uncanny ability to discover at least one unique black Santa every year. Her latest gift is a gray-bearded black Santa carrying a basket of wine — my kind of Santa.

Last year, my friend Andrea’s mother, who lives in Florida, sent me a black Santa in a full-on post-Christmas outfit — wearing flipflops and a straw hat, carrying a fruity drink. But, my friend Janet’s gift knocked it out of the park — a black Santa wooden nutcracker, holding a sign which reads, “Black Santas Matter.”

They do, indeed, despite naysayers who shall go unnamed here. They simply don’t understand how important it is not only to see yourself reflected in a positive way, but also to be included in time honored cultural imagery. To my great delight, my office display of black Santas draws frequent oohs and ahs from my coworkers. I love how everybody else embraces my wonderful collection, though I, too, never tire of looking at my treasures.

Black Santa and me — the most wonderful time of the year.