‘They’ll take over everything’ | NevadaAppeal.com

‘They’ll take over everything’

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Pam Olvera has collected more than 2,300 Santas ranging from the icon in traditional poses to the North Pole resident surfing.

Men in red suits pilot airplanes, relax in beach chairs and appear on packets of hot chocolate.

They dangle from garland, play golf and saxophone and pull overstuffed sacks of presents.

“I believe in Santa Claus,” reads a pillow near the front door of Pam Olvera’s house.

The grandmother, who says her collection has ballooned over the last few years, has over 2,000 figures of Santa or pieces imprinted with Santa in her house in north Douglas County.

She’s picked up more than 150 since Thanksgiving alone.

“It’s just kind of gone crazy,” Olvera said. “My husband keeps saying, ‘When are you going to stop? When is it enough?’ And I say, ‘I guess it’s never enough.'”

Santas are stacked, piled and hung everywhere in her house. They’re in her living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathrooms. They’re stuck to her porch and roof. They’re on clothes, blankets, oven mitts and packed into cabinets.

They’re not just dolls or figurines, either. They’re printed on trays, pots, thimbles, shoes, pins, keys, cups, earrings, banners, snifters, snow globes, and salt-and-pepper shakers.

“I just love them all,” said Olvera, a waitress at the Carson Station Casino. “I can’t stop buying Santas all year long. No matter when I see them, I’m just picking them up.”

Most of them are donated by friends and family, though. She got her first Santa doll from her sister’s mother-in-law 32 years ago. They started piling up fast about 10 years ago once people learned how much she liked them.

One of her favorites is a tall doll she keeps on the dinner table that her daughter, Patrina, made her.

“I don’t know,” Patrina said. “She was really hard on us believing in him, and I believe in him. The kids believe in him. She just believes in Santa, I really honestly believe that. She’s a believer in Santa.”

Olvera said she wants more, too. Once her nine grandchildren are gone, she’ll probably have rooms devoted to her collection.

“They’ll take over everything,” she explained.

For now, the collection stays in plastic tubs in a storage shed from February until Thanksgiving. She then takes them out and decorates the house with her family’s help.

“I think she’s crazy,” said her sister, Terri Syms.

Olvera said she fell in love with Santa Claus growing up on a farm in rural Michigan. She said she didn’t see a lot of pictures of him, but learned about the tradition through the stories her parents told her. Most of the gifts she got – usually pajamas, shoes, an outfit and a toy – were signed from Santa. She’s trying to pass on that tradition to her family.

“I think every kid should have a dream,” she said. “And you’ve always got to have something to believe in. And with Santa, you can always believe.”

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

Holiday events


• Boy Scout Christmas Tree sales, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Highway 50 East (across from Third Street) lot, 400 Highway 50 East. Trees include Forest Forest Service silver tips and nobles, plus tree-farm raised Douglas firs and Scotch pines. Call 246-3870.

Today-Dec. 24

• Rainbow Girls’ Gift Wrap, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. through Dec. 24, Carson City Mall. Annual Rainbow Girl fundraiser, wrapping and decorating all sizes and shapes of Christmas gifts for the artistically impaired and generous Carson residents. Call 684-0384.


• Carson City Host Lions Club See’s Candy Sales, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays at four convenient locations: Fuji Park; Raley’s; Save-Mart stores at Highway 50 East and Airport Road and College Parkway and Highway 395. See’s candies are ideal for a stocking stuffer or hostess gift and are perfect to have on hand for an unexpected guest. Funds from the candy sales support the purchase of eye glasses and exams for local underprivileged and the Carson City Host Lions Club’s scholarship fund. Call 882-4803.


• Santa Visits the Children’s Museum, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through Saturday, Children’s Museum, 813 N. Carson St. Visit and get your photo taken with Santa Claus. Crafts and cookie decorating for the children and holiday shopping in the gift shop. Bring the entire family. Call 884-2226.


• Craft and Vendor Fair, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. through Christmas, Unique Holiday Gifts, 4183 S. Carson St. At Southgate Center Mall, next to Paint your own Pottery. Santa will be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday for photo opportunities. No charge for children of military personnel. For information, call 224-5536.


• Carson AT&T Pioneers Christmas party, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Gold Dust West, Highway 50 East at Lompa Lane. Dinner is $18 per person, gift exchange nongender $10 per person and please wrap gift. Call 882-5205.


• Turkey Round-up, 2-8 p.m. through Saturday, Carson City Elks Lodge #2177, 515 N. Nevada S. Collecting turkeys for Friends in Service Helping. Call 882-2177.


• The Christmas House, 7-9 p.m. through Friday, The Christmas House, 3373 Stafford Way. Come see Santa Claus, a live nativity scene and a Christmas Choir. Free to all. For information, call 721-5584.


• Christmas Follies of 2007, 7-9:30 p.m., Gold Hill Hotel, 1540 Main St., Gold Hill. One night only, includes four-course gourmet dinner and show; $45 per person. Call 847-0111.


• “Ebenezer Scrooge – Jazz’d Up Like the Dickens!,” 1 and 6 p.m. today, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St. DanceSpirit Performing Arts presents a lively version of the holiday classic, “The Christmas Carol.” Features many forms of dance including tap, jazz, ballet and hip-hop and music from the past to the present; dancers range in age from 5-57 years. Tickets $10 for children and seniors, $18 for adults. Call 884-1066.

• “The PeanutCracker – The Story In A Nutshell” ballet will be performed by the Sierra Nevada Ballet and students from Western Nevada Performing Arts Center and In Motion Studio at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Carson City Community Center. This is a condensed one hour and narrated version of the beloved “Nutcracker,” designed to appeal to audience members of all ages. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children. Call Pam at 851-0808 or Rosine Bena at 783-3223.

• “Monkey King Creates Havoc in Heaven,” a nonstop kung fu-style show, will make its premiere appearance in North America with a limited engagement run in Sammy’s Showroom at Harrah’s Reno. Presented by Shengda Cultural Communications Co. and the Beijing Shaolin Martial Arts School, “Monkey King Creates Havoc in Heaven” Christmas show performance Dec. 16. Ticket prices are $29.95 and $34.95 for VIP seating. Call 788-2900 or visit harrahsreno.com.

• The Reno Chamber Orchestra presents the fourth annual Nevada Chamber Christmas Music Festival Dec. 28-31, seven concerts featuring renowned musicians from around the world performing the masterworks of chamber music. The Festival will be at South Reno United Methodist Church and the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nightingale Concert Hall. Tickets are available at the Reno Chamber Orchestra office, 348-9413, or at RenoChamberOrchestra.org/ncmf.

• “The Nick of Time Christmas Show,” today at 2 p.m., Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall, 511 W. King St. Presented by Carson Performing Arts. Tickets are $8 general, $5 for children, students (with student ID) and seniors. E-mail for tickets boxoffice@carson.k12.nv.us Call 219-3577.

• “A Spectacular Holiday Concert on the Comstock,” 3 p.m. Sunday at Piper’s Opera House, B and Union streets. A special performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” suite in an arrangement. Call 847-0433, (866) 422-1956.

• “Artemis and the Christmas Treasure” 8 p.m. Thursday at Gold Hill Hotel, 1540 Main St. Presented by Gold Hill Theater Troupe. Cost is for $30 dinner and theater; $10 for theater only. Reservations recommended. Call 847-0111.

• “A Filipino Christmas in Reno” plays at the Silver Legacy Dec. 22. Tickets are $48-$68. Call 325-7401.

• Grand Sierra Casino Theatre, Reno, presents the Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22. Tickets range from $33-$71.50. Call 789-2000 or visit http://www.grandsierraresort.com.

• “The Nutcracker” ballet, a holiday classic, comes to Harrah’s Lake Tahoe’s South Shore Room for two special shows 7 p.m. Dec. 22 and 3 p.m. Dec. 23 Featuring is the talented Reno Dance Company. Tickets are $36.75 and $26.76; seniors and children are $21.75. Call (800) 786-8208.