Santa takes residence in Falliston

Published 10:30 pm Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas arrives early to Dan and Martha Doss’ home in Falliston.

It is a necessity so her two daughters, Sarah Peeples and Shelia Curtis and granddaughter, Lauren can enjoy Doss’ 200–plus Santa Claus ornaments and decorations during their Thanksgiving visit.

“If you don’t like Santa Claus, you won’t want to come in,” said Martha Doss in her doorway.

You will immediately be greeted by Santa hang-gliding from the foyer light fixture and elves peeking from the grandfather clock, but this is but a modest hint of things to come.

The immediate living room decor will make your head turn faster than the revolving Christmas tree. Doss decrees that no ornament shall go unseen — not her Meemaw and Peepaw gift ornament from Lauren or the crafty Santa head made from a dried okra pod.

“I began collecting as I like all the different faces that Santa can have and I only buy the ones with pretty faces and expressive eyes,” she said.

A large ceramic Hallmark Santa from the 1980s in a flowing green and gold cloak and more saintly expression adorns the dining sideboard.

“His eyes are looking up to the heavens,” Doss says, “but the day I decided to splurge and buy him, it was as if he was just looking at me.”

Known also as the ‘Puzzle Lady,’ Doss has collected and assembled Christmas-themed puzzles (17 to date) that she uses throughout her home framed on the wall.

Before her retirement from First Financial Bank, she decorated their lobby, first in Hueytown, then later in Helena, for the holidays with selections from her collection.

Last year, she assembled and donated a puzzle of a pink–robed Santa wearing the ‘For the Cure’ ribbon to the Hueytown B&PW Club auction, where it brought $500.

At home, Doss’s signature touch features handmade bows and wreaths, accent lighting and candles throughout. She has mini-collections of Crinkle Claus (31 and now discontinued) and Thomas Kincaid ornaments. Several wind-up Santas provide belly-shaking renditions of “Jingle Bell Rock” and music boxes and snow globes tinkle carols such as “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

“When my granddaughter was small, she liked to wind everything up at once,” remembers Doss.

Doss leaves no niche un-Christmasy, as proves her bathroom’s Santa night-light, furry-faced Santa toilet seat cover and toilet paper picturing Santa and reindeer holding hands.

The most special of all her Santas is perched on a wooden rocking horse and was custom–designed for Doss, incorporating meaningful family mementoes. Santa’s stocking cap and pants are fashioned from her baby sweater.

He holds a delicate childhood doll and clasps the beaded mask she wore as Queen Aphrodite in the 1986 Pascagoula Carnival Ball; a jeweled remnant of her gown skirts the saddle. Santa’s wrap is a real mink stole belonging to her Aunt Avis.

By February, the Christmas tree at the Doss home will have evolved into a masked and feathered Mardi Gras theme.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at