Santa collection displayed at history project fund-raiser |

Santa collection displayed at history project fund-raiser

by Maggie O'Neill
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Mary Ann Convis sits next to display of a fraction of the approximately 300 collectible Santas in her home in Carson City.

Mary Ann Convis owns more Santas than she can count.

The jolly old man with the white beard is the main decor of five shelves, two window sills, nine miniature Christmas trees, one rocking chair, the front door-knob and the walls of her home.

“When we go on trips, these are what I bring home for souvenirs,” said the 75-year-old co-chairwoman of the Nevada Women’s History Project.

On one shelf a little Christmas tree spouts ornaments from Barea, Ky., including a Santa walnut, a Santa pecan, a Santa twig, a Santa acorn and a Santa shotgun shell.

“You really have to admire their creative bend,” she said. “They make Santas out of what’s available.”

Visitors can view Convis’ Santas at her Carson City home during a Nevada Women’s History Project fund-raiser from 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25, RSVP is a must.

“When I see something different, I pick it up,” Convis said. “But I couldn’t have done this without the help of my family.”

Convis began collecting Santas about 15 years ago when she told her family she wanted only Santas for Christmas.

“You never know where you’re going to find Santas,” she said.

Since then, family members have purchased Santas for her on their travels or have made replicas of Old St. Nick.

Her daughter-in-law, Sally Convis, lives in Grass Valley, Calif., and painted a Santa on a gourd for Convis two years ago.

“Her request has inspired me to become more creative,” Sally said. “I’ve gotten more involved in art and different art mediums because it’s fun to do different things.”

Sally and Billy, Convis’ son, recently bought their mother two goodies while on a trip to Europe: a Christmas bulb from Paris detailing Santa climbing the Eiffel Tower and a figurine of Del Bersnickel, or the German Santa Claus, from Rothenburg, Germany.

“When you find a Santa that’s interesting, you have to get it,” she said.

The fund-raiser is the first large one for the group in the past several years.

“What we do is encourage women in Nevada to write their history,” said Convis, who joined the Nevada Women’s History Project nine years ago. “That’s just so young people growing up will have mentors.”

Three years ago, the grandmother of 13 began copying the letters she wrote to her mother.

“What I wrote my mother is like a diary. I’m telling you I shopped like you wouldn’t believe,” she said.

“Much of what I wrote was about the fun things the children did.”

For on the Nevada Women’s History Project, go to

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’ or 881-1219.

if you go

What: Nevada Women’s History Project fund-raiser

When: 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Where: The Convis home, 2185 Courtside St.

Cost: $25.

Call: 888-9867 to RSVP