ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - T wo inflatable Santas are the only decorations outside of Jeri Valdes-Gonzales' Santa Fe home. But take a step inside and all you see is jolly old Saint Nick.
"I don't think I ever thought about collecting Santas," Gonzales said. "It just came about."
There are small Santas, tall Santas, beach Santas and farmer Santas, football-playing Santas, even biker Santas.
"I've got everything you can imagine," Gonzales said of her collection.
She got her first Santa Claus as a gift from her father when she was 10-years-old. In the last 20 years, with the help of her husband, Gonzales' collection has multiplied and multiplied, and multiplied.
"Everywhere we go, we've got to stop," Isidro Gonzales said. "If there's a Santa Claus, we've got to stop there."
All in all, Gonzales has 1,500 Santa Clauses, though only 1,090 came out of storage this year. That's about a week's worth of work just setting them up.
Gonzales said she does play favorites when it comes to her Santas. At the top of the list, a Santa Claus she drove to Texas to buy, that is kneeling in front of a baby Jesus.
Gonzales said her Santa menagerie gets her in the Christmas spirit.
"He represents the giving spirit of Christmas for me," Gonzales said. "Everything he does represents happiness and giving and just being with family, being with friends. That's what Christmas is to me and that's what Santa is."
So Gonzales doesn't plan on stopping collecting Santas anytime soon and neither do her friends and family. Underneath the Christmas tree, in boxes wrapped in Santa Claus paper, is at least one Kris Kringle ready to join the collection.
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