As you are rummaging through Santas, Snowmen, and other Christmas figurines to pick up as decorations or gifts, be sure to check the label to see where they came from.
If you’ve been shopping at Neiman Marcus in Paramus, Short Hills, Westchester, NY or King of Prussia, Penn., you’ve probably seen handmade Santa Claus figurines made by Mahwah mom Kristen Bushman.
Bushman, a graduate of Parsons: The New School For Design began making the decorative Santas for her kids’ holiday boutique at Betsy Ross nine years ago. When residents started showing interest in her dolls, she formed Kristen’s Kreationz.
Two years ago, “I was doing a fundraiser and met an NM gift gallery manager from the Paramus store who was looking for a local artist,” Bushman said. Her Santas were such good sellers last Christmas season, they were expanded to the four locations this year, she said.
Bushman makes one-of-a-kind Santas using what she calls “Old World tradition, high-quality materials,” like wool, tapestries, furs and silks.
She also sells Santas to order through her website.
“Since I can make custom Santas, I often use materials that are important to people, like grandma’s old fur coat, or something that reminds people of holidays they spent with family members who are no longer with us,” Bushman said.
New this season, she has also introduced antique Santas, which she makes using materials like 100-year-old trims.
“No two of [my Santas] are the same. I think that’s why people have become so interested in them; they are truly handmade and that is a lost art,” Bushman said.
Bushman’s collectibles, which come in all shapes, sizes and decorations, start at about $200. She accepts custom orders through her website, and Santas will remain in Neiman until at least Dec. 15.