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Elf Without Jingles

Santa gets new downtown Headquarters

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Elf Without Jingles

Santa getting new digs for downtown

by Jason Campbell, the Manteca, California Bulletin | Posted: 03-01-2014, 1:12 AM

 

EXCERPT:

 

MANTECA, CALIFORNIA --- Christmas is already an afterthought to most people. The family who flew in is long gone, the presents aren't new anymore, and the weather has definitely changed.

 

Yet Jennifer Munoz and her family remain focused on Santa Claus --- more specifically, the place he calls home.

 

No, not the North Pole, but rather, the little hut on the corner of Main Street and Yosemite Avenue that has long served as the digs for Santa Ben Jetton and his red suit. The Jolly Man in Red has been quite good-natured about it all, but his hut has been literally falling down around him each time he has climbed up into his chair.

 

So Jennifer Munoz decided to do something about it.

 

Through an online crowdfunding campaign, the Manteca-based mom raised over $1000 to construct a new Santa hut, which will, of course, be rolled out during December's annual Holiday Parade. An anonymous donor made an additional $1000 cash contribution. And a local roofing business has also agreed to donate parts and labor, so that inclement weather doesn't ruin the seasonal fun.

 

It's been quite an undertaking, but ever since Munoz brought her family here to Manteca, she's been taking her children down to Jetton's place every Christmas, so that they can partake in a holiday tradition, right in the heart of the community that she has called home.

 

The outpouring of support, she says, has been inspiring.

 

"The involvement the community has shown in all this has been a really big motivator," Munoz said. "This wasn't just one of those things where somebody just donated $5 and then just said, 'OK, I'm done.' Everybody collaborated together, and they stepped up, and they said, 'Here, this is what we want.' And that's what we're gonna do."

 

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Santa Leonard

What a wonderful story!

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SCSanta

More folks on Santa's Nice List!

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SantaStephen

Maybe we can spread the word and get more social funding projects in other locations.

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KKringle

Now that is community spirit and the way to keep traditions alive. I love stories like this.

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Santa Johnny Boy

Seems like a Santa House is becoming more popular for a community than a trip to the Mall.

Wonder if this is a new trend we're seeing?

And it's great when the community supports it!

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Santa Bruce Geron

Great news. Are there more Santa Houses appearing or are we becoming more aware of their occurence?

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KKringle

Kringleville in downtown Waterville, Maine has been a Christmas tradition since 1969. I think the Santa house not a new thing, but I do believe that people like the personal aspect of it. It is especially great in small communities.

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Elf Without Jingles

And that might mean I would have to investigate the prospect of building a Santa's House myself ---- assuming, of course, that I don't have to contend with the constant flow of red tape, go to the obligatory loggerheads with the New York City Department of Buildings, and --- oh yeah, all those angry folks with their NIMBY ("Not In My Back Yard") attitudes! Given that I might have to face that challenge, could I make it happen, even with the help of my peers? And what would I need to do to put it all together? Let's continue to discuss this; the idea of seeing Santa's Houses popping up all across America promises,I think, to be the best thing that could ever happen to Santa at this day and age.

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Santa TJS

The cost of construction and a site for this type of venue is very expensive. Then you must consider being ADA complient and meet all the fire and electrical codes then insurance. After hours security against vandalism . No such a simple

nostalgic idea. You would need a sponsor capable of funding and cooperation of th local city or town in which to locate it.

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SantaStephen

The cost of construction and a site for this type of venue is very expensive. Then you must consider being ADA complient and meet all the fire and electrical codes then insurance. After hours security against vandalism . No such a simple

nostalgic idea. You would need a sponsor capable of funding and cooperation of th local city or town in which to locate it.

Isn't this a sad statement about our society?

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Santa TJS

Sad but very true,not a simple project anymore.

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Santa Marty

Simple, no but still possible.  It would take a lot of support, and sponsorship.

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KKringle

Actually it is not hard as it seems. Yes, we have the support of the city. Parks and Recreation and Public works transported the house from the Airport to the Town square every year. They assembled the ramp and stairs and got us ready. i just had to give them the days we wanted it delivered. When we used the cottage, the electricity came from us being plugged into a lamp post. It was a special hook up. It provided us with electric heat and power. Over the year, three Santa Houses have been used. All were built and donated by volunteers and with the aid of corporate sponsors. People have always stepped up to the plate.  

We have the support of the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association, the Rotary Club and our non-profit organization, Waterville, Main Street.  We have never had to ask for Police support and in 45 years the house has only been vandalized and broken into once and they people were caught and volunteers stepped up to fix any damage.  We are no longer in that little house, but our new venue still has the charm and feel of the little cottage. It was a hard decision to move our location, but we are now in a former store front window in the Community Arts and Community Center. It is right next door too the square where the house used to sit. It was the right decision where as our numbers have increased over the years causing long wait times and that is just not recommended in our cold Maine winters.  In the next few years the house will come back to Castonguay Square, but as a new creation. We will be making an "Elf Academy" out of the little house. Think one room little red school with the bell tower, black board, antique desk, pop belly stove and all decorated for Christmas.  In the house there will be activities for children and cookies and honorary elf certificates.  A volunteer elf will man the elf school. We work on this year round, but when it is a labor of love, it really isn't work. The community supports us because this is a tradition that people do not want to see go away. Personally I never Santa in a Mall as a child, My parents took me to Kringleville and Santa's Little house. It was much more personable and intimate and that is what a visit with Santa should feel like. I am blessed to have been a visitor, an elf, a volunteer and now I am the fifth man to sit in that chair as Santa. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Santa TJS

Your lucky to be in a community with such great support ,unfortunately anything Christmas themed is very hard to start in theses times. Most communities are cutting programs due to the economy. It requires sponsors and business is feeling the crunch many of the independent stores and companies have gone under. In our town they take up a collection trying to support a small fireworks display for the forth of July and each year it looks like we won't make it. Even using a fire truck for Santa has critics about the cost of fuel and taking a truck out of service. Sign of the times.

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Santa Joel

Gray is a small enough town that the Santa house would fit in nicely. I think they already have a Santa arrival day with most of the shops participating, but, nothing on a longer time frame. May have to check into that. They do have the Santa show up on a fire engine during the night time parade, but I don't think he stops off anywhere for visiting. 

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