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RETRO-SPECTIVE: CHRISTMAS 2010
A Modern Retro Christmas - Jolly Joy Santa
Jolly Joy Lighted Santa @ Amazon - 24"x25" Made In The USA
First off, I guess I should tell you a little about myself before I tell you about the story behind this retro Santa remake. I graduated from Penn State in 2006 started employment as an auditor at a local regional accounting firm. However, being an auditor isn’t usually what surprises people when I talk to them about what currently is going on in my life. It’s usually when I tell them about the business venture that I have undertaken that surprises them and intrigues them to ask for more information. See, I currently have a business that sells a reproduction Santa Face that I have named “Jolly Joy Santa” the original was made in the 1950’s. When I tell people, they are definitely intrigued and curious as to how I came up with the idea to make a reproduction replica Santa.
I have always been a Christmas lover; my best friend jokingly refers to me as a “Christmas nut”, which I guess could be somewhat accurate. I do have a lot of Christmas decorations. I guess it really started when I was a little kid and fell in love with this huge illuminated Santa Face that grandma Jean, always decorated with. It has been hanging in her house each year since my grandfather, who worked in a local furniture store, rescued the item from the dumpster. It was placed in the dumpster, after being used for one season as a Christmas as a decoration in the store’s window display. I can remember how she hung it on the wall each Black Friday when my sister and I were visiting over the Thanksgiving holiday. We would always help her decorate for Christmas. I remember how excited I was to see the huge Santa face. I would stare at the face for hours mesmerized by his illuminated magical glow. It was and still is my favorite Christmas decoration. However, this infatuation alone was not the primary reason for seeking to reproduce this cherished Christmas decoration. It wasn’t until I was about 10 years old that the real motive for what has now become reality began to materialize. Looking back on history, as a ten year old, I like to think I was quite savvy. When I was ten my grandparents decided to make a Will and asked everyone in the family if they would like any specific item(s) to be left to them. It was then that I declared that I wanted to inherit all my grandparent’s Christmas decorations. The Christmas items were the only things I wanted. My grandparents were happy to comply and had it wrote into their Will. It is still there today.
It wasn’t before long, that my family, primarily, my Sister and Mom, were outraged and upset with the fact that I was legally going to one day inherit these greatly treasured items. Of the utmost concern and center of the strong opposition to my now written rights, was the Santa Face, everyone wanted it and really couldn’t imagine Christmas without it. Every year thereafter, I would hear complaint after complaint about how unfair it was that I was to be the one to own this great family heirloom one day. Then one, Christmas night after a busy day of gift giving and family togetherness, we sat in my Grandma’s living room talking and enjoying each other’s company when the topic of conversation turned to the Santa face that so warmly lit the room. It was then that I started wondering where and how I could track down the copyright holder. I wondered if I could negotiate my way into somehow being able to produce a Santa so everyone in the family could have one.
Over the years I learned it wasn’t just the family that loved this Santa. Everyone that would visit my Grandma’s house would comment about how nice the Santa was and wanted to know where they could buy one. That was just the problem; there wasn’t a place that had these for sale. It really wasn’t even made for the purpose of decorating a home. Over my research for the history of the Santa Face, I learned that it was originally made as a promotion tool to market and sell little red Santa stockings. Shop owners would place the Santa Face in a store’s window as a way to advertise and entice shoppers to come buy the little stockings.
After deciding to produce the Santa Face, I found myself researching copyright laws and tracking down records in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. After I tracked down the copyright information, I contacted a local chemist to analyze what type of plastic the item was constructed of. I knew it was important to use the same material in order to get the proper illumination. After determining the material, I used the internet to discover the process that was used to manufacture a three dimensional illuminated sign. After many hours of research I knew that I needed to find a manufacture that specialized in distortion printing and thermal- vacuum molding. That search was more difficult than I originally believed it would be. Many manufactures with such capabilities had packed up shop and moved to China. There are only a few left in the United States. After contacting several manufactures, I found one that was willing and able to serve my production needs. Soon after, I found myself packing my bags and a large case holding the original Santa to catch a flight for an initial pre-production research meeting in Sunny California.
After my meeting in California and ironing out many details, which took months, I started critiquing many pre- production items to arrive at the final production item that is being sold today. The great thing about all the hard work, is the final production item is almost identical to the original and this great decoration can now bring joy to more than just my family each Christmas for years to come.
Last Christmas was the first Christmas that I sold Jolly Joy. I have received a lot of feedback from customers praising and thanking me for the great decoration. Many of the customers remember such a Santa from their childhood and are eager to share their Christmas memories. Last year on FedEx’s busiest shipping day of the year, I was at the local Fedex store shipping some Santas and the local tv news station happen to see me. The reporter came over and asked what I was shipping. When I told her, she was intrigued and asked if I would allow her to do a story on my business venture. I agreed and that’s how the youtube video I sent you came about. www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXpFz9EL8B4. I currently sell the Jolly Joy Santa’s on my website, www.detailedjourney.com , Amazon and Ebay.
2010 Christmas Tree - Rockefeller Center, New York, New York
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