Reasons to Believe  
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1  General Category / I collect Santas because... / Why I collect Santas! on: January 19, 2009, 03:12:28 AM
There has to be a million reasons one would start a collection of Santas,...we'd like to hear yours.
2  General Category / Industry News / Re: The cost of $anta$ these days! on: January 13, 2009, 02:21:00 AM
2009 Santa Economics:
Vendor catalogs are coming out now, the first major gift show scheduled for the season is waning.  The results?...Let's start with the number one manufacturer of Santas, Possible Dreams.  For starters their parent company Lenox/Department 56 filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late in 2008.  Their new catalogs are out and though they do have some wonderful new Santa additions, their pricing has gone up close to 20 percent, and I'd guess higher.  Santas that retailed for $55 in 2008 have comparable new releases now priced at $70-$75.  And the number of new releases has been cut as well.  Fewer Santa designs, higher prices, more costly shipping,...this could be an interesting year.  Here's the kicker,...if the shows don't go well in terms of sales for these companies (and I'm using Possible Dreams as an industry barometer) and they don't get enough orders during the trade shows many of these pieces will never make it to the public as they will not be able to justify production with so few orders.

Pipka has come out with, in my opinion, their strongest Santa introductions in MANY years, absolutely beautifully designed and themed pieces.  They are hands down the benchmark in quality with solid cast, intricate detail and perfect painting.  If you don't own a Pipka Santa - get one in your hands and see for yourself.  This is one line I really hope can make it through this difficult economic time as they are the last real Santa specialist of high end quality left standing, the 'Legends of Santa Claus' of the late 1990's and 2000's. We'll be posting these new designs in early spring.

Russian Santas - This will be an interesting year for a couple of reasons.  After many years of 10-15% annual price increases due to the falling dollar and strong economics in Russia the tide has finally turned.  The dollar has bounced back against the Ruble(supposedly making Russian goods more affordable) somewhat, but the Russian economy is in shambles, worse than ours.  Over the years many artists there left their trade to follow more lucrative jobs in their bustling economy, resulting in fewer artists continuing the trade.  Those remaining are refusing to produce the cheaper ornaments and less expensive carvings as it is simply not worth their time.  They are instead focusing on the mid range carvings $100+.  Result??  Nobody is willing to make the $30 carving or ornaments any more.  ****Collector note!  Hand carved $25 Santas and ornaments are no longer being made, and if they are - they are being produced completely without quality and detail.  Fortunately we purchased hundreds of smaller pieces and ornaments years ago when the quality excellent and prices were good.  Now, we cannot even find an artist willing to make hand carved ornaments there. 

No doubt 2009 will see numerous figurine companies go by the wayside as the writing was clearly on the wall a year or two ago.  That will mean fewer new collectible Santas on the market this year.  Though I may be speaking a bit prematurely my gut tells me so,...time will tell.  Handcrafted Santas made in the USA will be making a big comeback this year.  Our American artists still produce amazing new Santas year after year and it's getting to the point where (never though I'd be able to say this...) they are not that much more than a mass produced import Santa.

This year you'll see both extremes - inflationary pricing on new Santas as well as competitive pricing on discounted Santas companies need to move to stay afloat.  In addition, the same will probably apply to hand crafted Santas with pricing dictated by the need to sell.  Bottom line - pay close attention for the best Santas and deals - they'll go fast.
3  General Category / Rate My Santa / Re: What makes a Santa a 'Great Santa'? on: January 09, 2009, 01:22:37 AM
Face, eyes, expression....face, eyes, expression....tell it all.  that's what really speaks,...the twinkle in the eye, the naughty or nice grin, I've been watching you brow, loving-caring-comforting-giving looks, joyful, reassuring, compassionate, inquisitive head tilts and knowing-all winks, all the things Santa stands for is written in the face and eyes...  Atleast that's how us Kringles see it, yet to each is own and what speaks to you cannot be refuted.
4  General Category / Generic Santa Chatter / Re: How many Santas in your collection on: January 09, 2009, 01:11:47 AM
Holy Shmoly Iowa - no wonder there's a Santa shortage!! Shocked
Mr and Mrs Claus Salt and Pepper shakers in there??
5  General Category / Generic Santa Chatter / Re: Favorite Wood Carvers on: January 09, 2009, 01:07:38 AM
Teri is certainly a Kringle-Favorite as her carvings lay claim to creativity as well as characterizing the giving and spiritual side of Santa.  She has done some extremely beautiful and inspirational work over the years.  Keep it up Teri!  There are so many talented artists and carvers to mention it's impossible to pick an absolute favorite. Undecided
6  General Category / Generic Santa Chatter / Re: Happy New Year on: January 09, 2009, 12:57:17 AM
And the best of New Years to you as well.  The Kringles are already hard at work preparing for an unbelievable 2009 showing.  Economy, Shmonomy - everyone needs a Santa!
7  General Category / Generic Santa Chatter / Re: Santa's what do you do with them on: January 09, 2009, 12:52:02 AM
A little of both works well.  Keep a few of the favorites out as a reminder of the giving spirit of Santa Claus...if for nothing else than to remind you of that once a year euphoric feeling that settles in around Christmas time...it's medicinal.  As for the rest - put them (carefully) away until next year.  Unpacking Santas for the season is in itself a great cause for celebration and something to look forward to,...especially with a little nog at hand for the occasion.  Cheers. Wink
8  General Category / Rate My Santa / Artists & Collectors - submit your Santa for review and comments on: May 20, 2008, 02:37:09 AM
would you like some honest feedback from Santa collectors and fellow artists?

Post your Santa creation or favorite piece from your collection for review and feedback and find out what thousands of fellow Santa fanatics think...

to post anonymously send image and details to reasonstobelieve@gmail.com
*allow 7-14 days for approved posts.  keep image sizes to under 500px in height.
9  General Category / Rate My Santa / Feedback please - what do you think of this Santa? on: May 20, 2008, 02:26:23 AM
Rate this Santa ornament....  1-10 (10 being the highest)
Please respond with constructive comments, thoughts and suggestions.

**This is a hand carved and hand painted Santa ornament, carved in the USA and measures about 4" in height.
10  General Category / Rate My Santa / Perfect Santa Poll! Share your vote on: May 20, 2008, 02:02:24 AM
Everyone has their own image of the perfect Santa....
What's yours?? Smiley
Pick the most important attribute when choosing a Santa for purchase.

11  General Category / Santa Finder / Searching for a 20 year old Santa relic?? on: May 20, 2008, 01:37:03 AM
Got a Santa you've been searching for on the secondary market that you just can't seem to locate?

Or, looking for information to help identify an out of production Santa?

Post your question or identifying characteristics here and we'll see what our board of expert collectors can come up with..
12  General Category / Rate My Santa / What makes a Santa a 'Great Santa'? on: May 20, 2008, 01:30:27 AM
For the benefit and sake of other artists and collectors...share your thoughts.
What exactly is it that separates the generic, run of the mill Santa figurines and carvings from the genuine jaw-dropping 'must have's'?

The eyes, the face, expression, belly size, general theme or pose, added detail as in pets and critters, action, etc...Huh

I'll start this discussion by sharing what I personally do not like, since there are so many aspects I really do enjoy.... 

...Angry, mean-looking, sinister Santas!

It's beyond me who would intentionally create a Santa Claus figure like this...he's not a mean guy!  Granted, I don't want to see the same old Coca-Cola Sundblom Santa face time and again, but Santa should have a decent expression whether warm, comforting, caring, laughing and even grinning.

Santa Rule #1 - He's not angry!
13  General Category / Industry News / The cost of $anta$ these days! on: May 20, 2008, 12:58:25 AM
Figurine companies are feeling the squeeze.  As of January 2008 all imports from China (yes, 95%+ of all figurines are manufactured there) will be costing American importers and figurine companies between 15 and 20% more than last year....that $40 Santa will soon be (poof!) a $50 Santa.  Labor laws, taxes, etc... all came at once.  Problem is, all major manufacturers and importers had their catalogs (and pricing) fixed well before the end of 2007 for the January trade shows - so they'll have to eat the increase for now.  Not for long though as many of these companies have already sent out press releases indicating mid year price increases.  If not, then get ready for a huge bump in 2009.

Hand crafted Russian Santa Claus carvings are a story of their own and will be featured in depth in a following post.  Years ago, all Russian artists demanded to be paid in US dollars (cash).  Presently, forget about the greenback as Rubles and Euros are the only currency accepted now by Russian artists....and we all know what the value of the dollar has been lately.  Bottom line...Russian Santa carvings have been going up 10-15% annually for the last 4-5 years and there's no sign of the trend changing.

Even Santa has his share of bills to pay.  Unfortunately, his sleigh secretly does use petrol, the reindeer go through a lot of grain, the local elf union uses more electricity than New York City and the number of demanding kids in the world isn't getting any smaller. The North Pole is feeling the squeeze with the rest of us.
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