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Local woman says 'Santa has no color'

December 16, 1997

by Joe Crocetta / staff photographer

Local woman says 'Santa has no color'

By LAURA ERNDE

Staff Writer

Beverly Hudgins-King traces her fondness for Santa Claus back to the day she was born - Christmas day 44 years ago.

And at this time of year, every nook and cranny of her Mulberry Avenue home reflects that affection.

"I just love the idea of Santa," she said. "Jesus is the reason for the season, but Santa portrays what many folks do all year long. Santa's just a good person."

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Hudgins-King has stuffed Santas, straw Santas, resin Santas, porcelain Santas, Santas wearing red velvet robes and Santas wearing red-checked shirts.

In her living room alone, there are Santas on her mantle, on curio tables and even on top of her television.

Most are black Santas, which she likes because they are difficult to find.

But she collects Santas of all colors and personalities - from the whimsical to the serious.

"I feel Santa has no color. He's just a good person with some special gifts," she said.

Her only requirement is that her Santas are unique.

Her tiniest Santa is a one-inch tall figurine. She has animated Santas and musical Santas.

On a bench, a row of dolls line up next to a stuffed sleeping Santa.

Her oldest is a set of Santa mugs, one black and one white, given to her by her mother to start her collection.

One of her favorite Santas has a bald head, just like her late father.

She and her husband, Charles "Turk" King, spend weeks unpacking the collection and decorating the house.

Hudgins-King has never counted her Santas, but she knows when something is missing.

A friend decided to test her one day and secretly removed a Santa figurine.

Hours later, Hudgins-King noticed.

Every year, she adds to her collection. Her newest piece is a music box with a black Santa on top.

She always tries to decorate a little differently, too.

This year, she put up a tree decorated for the African-American holiday Kwanzaa.

She enjoys sharing her collection with others. She is holding an open house from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Hudgins-King finds the Santas at craft shows and specialty shops. Many of her pieces are collectible and have appreciated in value since she bought them.

She also collects black memorabilia and decorations for other holidays, especially Easter and Thanksgiving.

"It's the fun of it. It brings me joy," she said.

She is hoping her daughter, 4-year-old Brianna, will grow to share her love for Santas.

A Hagerstown native, Hudgins-King works as a social worker in foster care placement at the Frederick County Department of Social Services.

After the holidays, it always takes longer to put away the Santas than it does to decorate.

"I don't want to put them away," she said.

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