SEATTLE — When you think of Santa Claus, what do you picture? Well, there is an artist in Beacon Hill who makes ornate, hand-sewn Christmas stockings that give mainstream Santa a much-appreciated makeover.
“I’m not one to sit and do nothing. I’ve always felt like I’ve got to contribute something,” she said, “I’ve got to make life better, for everybody!”
Her name is Janet Warner, and she makes Christmas decorations featuring Black Santa. Then, she gives these stockings away to people who she knows will love them.
“I’ve got to be creating something to pass on to somebody else," she said. “And that’s what Santa Claus stands for – it’s the spirit of giving.”
But she doesn’t give them away before she makes sure every detail is as festive as possible.
“These stockings, the majority of them will take between 30 and 40 hours to do one stocking.”
Just like Santa has his elves, Janet has her husband Howard.
“Howard is my helper, he’s my cutter,” she explained, “he’s my right arm.”
This year, Janet made stockings for a very special family who cherishes their new decorations.
“It’s something that is really important to me, to my family,” said Theo Bowie, who brought his young daughter Olivia with him to pick up their new stockings. “The way [Janet] sees that as normal is a beautiful thing.”
“Usually, you just get the same old Santa’s, but this is different,” said Charles Bowie, Olivia’s grandfather. “It’s just a joy to have a Black Santa on the mantle.”
Thanks to Janet, three generations of Bowies now have beloved Christmas decorations that will bring joy for generations to come.
“It’s nice to support a community that has not had the recognition in the Christmas department – the Christmas season,” Janet smiled.
Janet also made a stocking for her family friend Larry Connor this year.
“There’s all different types of Santas,” said Larry. “It’s something that’s fun, something that’s a happy time of the year – it’s something to represent the Black community.”
“You can’t get this pattern. She had to make this up herself,” Larry continued. “This is something that’s unique.”
Janet believes in the power of joy and the power of coming together during the holidays – and that’s why she makes her stockings.
“It’s the spirit of giving, and joy, and caring,” Janet emphasized. “I enjoy doing that.”
“We’re all here together, and we’ve got to get along, and it’s nice to acknowledge that we’re all different yet we’re all the same.”