LAMBERTVILLE, MI (Toledo News Now) – Inside a workshop in Lambertville, the spirit of Christmas lives year-round.
It's a workshop filled with Santas. Margaret Cook got the idea for the shop when she and her husband started a Christmas tree farm years ago.
"I started because we had our first crop of Christmas trees to sell, and I thought I'd make a $25 Santa to sell," Cook said. "I made six."
Cook didn't think her early Santas were big enough, or pretty enough, so she went back to the drawing board. Everything – from the tip of Santa's hat to the sole of his boots – is handmade by Cook herself.
Now her workshop is filled with Christmas knick-knacks, materials, and furs. Cook said the first step in her process is to lay out all the pieces she'll use.
"That's why this place is such a mess!" she said. "You get out toys and all these ribbons and wreaths and little trees."
Each Santa Cook makes is unique – from Santa as circus ringmaster to Doctor Santa. Cook said her ideas come from all over, including her customers. She has to be part seamstress, part sculptor, part woodworker, and part artist to make each one.
Jacobsen's department stores used to sell Cook's Santas, but mostly people discover her by word-of-mouth. Her Santas have found homes all over the world, which makes her proud. Cook admitted, though, that sometimes it's hard to let them go.
"It's really going to be hard to lose the circus guy," she said. "I cannot do him again. I can do something like him, but I cannot do him again. And I've let so many go that I didn't take photos of and [I regret] that. And it's kind of sad in here when they're not here. It really is. They're cheery…I love when the shop is full."
Like Santa himself, Cook may take a break for a day or two after Christmas, but after that she'll be back to work, creating a little Christmas magic every day of the year.
"I'm very fortunate," she said. "To be able to do what I like and sell it…is really pretty amazing."
Cook's workshop is open all year. To see her work, visit her shop on Samaria Road in Lambertville, or give her a call at 734-856-5255.