Friday, December 7, 2012


What does the summer of '57 and Christmas have in common?  Usually, not much, but when you are a young girl just graduated from high school, and a new company comes to town and hires you for your first job, one has very much to do with the other.

Me, on the left. Kathy, on the right.
Steiff bear, middle.  Can you imagine what kind of a price tag that guy had on his head?

My cousin, Kathy, and I applied for the job of Santa's Helper when Santa's Village, an amusement theme park started in southern California, set up shop in Scotts Valley, a small town just a stone's throw away from Santa Cruz.

Kathy is two years younger than I and she lived "in town", whereas I lived "out in the sticks" of Soquel, another small town by Santa Cruz as the crow flies.
  Every day my dad would drop me off at her house on his way to work and another "older" girl, that had also been hired, picked us up and  hi, ho, hi, ho it's off to work we'd go!
  Shirley drove a really sharp little MG, a two seater, if I remember correctly.  I can't imagine how we all fit, but we had a ride in a sports car and the driver smoked, so we were "very cool"...of course, our uniforms said otherwise, but no one could have told us differently at the time.
  An official Santa's Helper's uniform consisted of:  dark green tights, white blouse, brown suede pixie boots and hat, both complete with jingle bells, and a tan suede vest.

Me, first on left, Kathy, second left along with a few of the other elf's and Mrs. Klaus

The park itself was very well thought out, a really charming place for families to come and spend a day.  There were real reindeer, hitched up to a sleigh for rides; brightly painted cement toad stools dotted the grounds for kids to climb on; a "Through the Looking Glass" fun house; a merry-go-round and ferris wheel; Mrs. Klaus' Kitchen, where an assortment of scrumptious candies could be found; a gift shop, numerous attractions and rides for the whole family; picnic areas; and Santa's House where the man, himself, resided complete with the North Pole.

I have never seen, before or since, a more perfect example of Santa Claus then our Mr. Hansen.  He was the sweetest and kindest man, with the perfectly round body, a really hearty voice and laugh, and a Swedish accent.  All the children really related to him.  He later went on to become the clown known as Hocus Pocus, a popular figure at birthday parties and local television.  Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of Mr. Hansen as Santa Claus.  Pictured below is the first Santa who didn't last very long!

Our duties included working the entrance where we would hand out a card and explain: "WELCOME TO SANTA'S VILLAGE.  THIS IS YOUR ENTRANCE CARD. ANYTHING YOU PURCHASE IN THE VILLAGE WILL BE ADDED TO THIS CARD AND YOU WILL PAY FOR YOUR PURCHASES AND ADMISSION WHEN YOU LEAVE. HAVE A GOOD TIME."  Of course, nine times out of ten one or the other of us would start laughing, uncontrollably, during the spiel and the other would have to take over.  Looking back, I'm surprised we lasted the whole summer!

There were a lot of other fun projects also, like the story book doll fashion show.

All in all it was a very fun summer that year and I have some very fond memories.  Now when we go to Santa Cruz to visit the kids, we drive right by the place where Santa's Village used to be and it's sad to see that the brightly colored buildings and toad stools are all gone and just a large stand of redwood trees marks the spot where I transitioned from youth to adulthood.

I hope you enjoyed the summer of '57, and my first work place, and now back to the business of Christmas...Judy

A sneak peek of the next part of our Christmas story.

I'm sharing this today with:


  1. Judy,

    That sounds like a wonderful first job! You looked adorable in your costume. I love to hear nostalgic stories.

    Amy Jo

  2. I sure did enjoy it. I was not even born yet...however, I would have LOVED your era...good times, good times and so carefree. You were a doll face, still are:)

  3. Judy you were a beauty in 1957. Very fun post full of nostalgia!

  4. How fun to have you share this with us. There used to be a Santa's Village in our local mountains...but I don't think it is there any more. You sure were an adorable 'elf'. (-:

  5. Dear Judy,
    Great post of you working at Santa's village with your friend kate.
    I was 10 in 57.. just getting over Santa really. Living in Central Africa
    boping to Elivis presley after school
    Only the other day, i was relating to someone about the dresses we used to wear with the net pettycoats underneath.
    You both looked great in the photo with your angel dresses.
    Thanks for sharing Judy. A trip down memory lane
    happy weekend

  6. Judy, I enjoyed your tale of christmas in 57. You've led an interesting life!! Merry Christmas, Jean

  7. I enjoyed your trip down memory lane! It sounds like it was wonderful place for a first job.

  8. Judy I might have seen you there girl..I loved that place..we had a cabin in Scotts valley my mama sold it in 1966 my kids were on the Hocus pocus show in San Jose..small world again my friend..Take care hugs and smiles Gloria

  9. What a great memory! Love the pics! Thank you for sharing this at Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  10. Hello Judy
    Your memories are fascinating, and I can tell your cherish them grately, how wonderful you have photo's too
    Winter wishes
    Thea x

  11. Hi Judy,
    What a fun post. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures, and reading your memories and thoughts.
    It looks like it was a great opportunity for you at the time, and sounds like you all had a great time.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Hope you're having a wonderful Christmas season!

  12. Thanks for the information... I really love your blog posts... specially those on Local Tamil News

  13. Hi Judy! You are up late...and, so am I! Thank you for your sweet comment on my latest Christmas post. I, too, am always squeemish about changing things on my blog. I find the more I do it...the easier it gets. But, I assure you I make plenty of mistakes and occasionally lose things. Eeeeek!

    Your post is the cutest! What fun you must have had being Santa's Helpers. I love your darling outfits. Those days were such wholesome times...I, too, was a child of the 50s. We were blessed!
    I hope you get some sleep...I am off to bed anticipating sweet dreams...maybe some with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.
    Blessings and Merry Christmas, my friend,
    Carolynn xxx

  14. Judy, I love this trip down memory lane. Sounds like a fun first job!
    Mary Alice

  15. What great memories for you Judy and you looked so cute in your costume.
    Have a great week.

  16. A lovely story Judy, thoroughly enjoyed sharing your memories.I was born in 1957, so it must have been a great year!!!!

  17. That is so awesome! Thank you for sharing with us!

  18. Hi Judy,I loved reading and sharing Your summer of '57 what a cool job! It looks like a great place to work and Your uniform sounds so cute :o) Thankyou for sharing such great memories xxx

  19. Enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing

  20. Aunt Judy - Thank you for sharing this!! I just came across it and shared it with my Mom. She will love it! Still looking forward to getting together with you and Tami very soon! xoxo


Your comments are so special to me...Judy