Preparing for Santa at home & at the studio

Carolyn Stich
Carolyn Stich

By Mary Lu Laffey

The joy that leaps from Carolyn Stich’s body of work at her art studio in downtown Holland makes a visit seem like Christmas any time of the year. This holiday, however, the ambience will be kicked up a notch — a big, red-suited, white-bearded notch. Come Nov. 25, Santa himself will ho-ho-ho through the front door and stay put until he leaves for his rounds on Christmas Eve.

Carolyn Stich Studio is the official 2016 Santa’s Shoppe for Downtown Holland.

Stich is thrilled at the opportunity to host Santa and all of the children and their families as they come by to see the jolly old man. There is no charge for children to visit or sit on Santa’s lap. Those wishing to take photos should bring their own camera or smartphone.

A Landmark in Winter by Carolyn Stich
A Landmark in Winter by Carolyn Stich

“I am setting up a special display for him near the rear of the studio,” Stich said. Decorating for the holidays is never a problem for the award-winning artist, whose snow-etched windows last year drew crowds to turn the corner on College Avenue, just to take a look and post a few photos.

“The challenge is organizing the queue,” she said. Tables normally used for art classes will be shifted to double duty, serving as stanchions as well as worktables.

Stich plans to have markers and pencils at the ready for the children to draw with while they wait. Most of the artwork they can take home, she explained.

She will ask them to decorate and leave brown lunch bags. Stich is a board member for the Kids’ Food Basket program, which provides brown bag dinners for school children who otherwise would not have an evening meal. The dinners are packed into decorated lunch bags, which have become a symbol for the program.

“Decorating the bags provides an opportunity to share the true meaning of the holidays,” she said. “Parents should color one, too.”

Stich admitted that getting ready for Santa at home is a lot easier. The Stich family — Carolyn, husband Ellis and children Peter and Rachel — are blessed with many Christmas traditions, including leaving Christmas morning for a long drive over the river and through the woods to visit grandma in St. Louis, Missouri. n

Carolyn Stich Studio
208 College Ave.

For Santa’s visiting hours,