A family collection, a lifetime of memories

HOLT, Mich. (WLNS) – Jane Dudley’s love for Santa Claus started in 1971 when she got married to her high school sweetheart Mike.

“They’re first Christmas my mom was gifted, I’m not even sure by who but she had this cute little potbellied candle Santa and for some reason out of that, this collection grew,” said Jennifer Malinowski, Jane’s Daughter.

Over the years, Jane became recognized for her obsession with red and white Kris Cringle’s and people always took note of it.

“I think it meant a lot to her that her family and friends were always thinking of her and finding these unique Santa’s for her,” Malinowski stated.

For Dudley, these figures meant more to her than a holiday decoration, it represented family and cherished memories.

Unfortunately though, last year Dudley and her husband suddenly passed away within three months of each other leaving her beloved Santa collection to her daughters.

“For about a year we’ve had 14 crates in storage of the about a thousand Santa’s my mom had accumulated,” said Malinowski.

So both Malinowski and her sister Ruth Dudley-Carr decided to set up a garage sale.

“We liked the idea that some people are coming and getting them and we’re telling them the stories and they’re kind of like pieces going out into the world,” Malinowski stated.

They hope with each Santa passed along, it will create new memories, stories and traditions for other families.

“Hopefully whatever Santa ends up in somebody’s home, that can be a symbol for them of like not to take today for granted, not to take this holiday for granted…my mom wouldn’t want anyone to and she wouldn’t want us to either,” said Ruth Dudley-Carr, Jane’s other Daughter.

Although its bittersweet, to Ruth and Jennifer…the saying “as one door closes, another one opens” has never felt more right.

“I think today would mean a lot to my mom,” Dudley-Carr stated.

“She definitely would have had a big smile on her face,” said Malinowski.

For those of you interested, the Santa collection sale will continue tomorrow from 8:30a.m. until noon.

The Dudley family says the Santa’s that do not sell, will be donated to the Detroit children’s museum.

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