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Cottage Gallery to host Santa for holiday event

DOWAGIAC — Santa Claus is coming to downtown Dowagiac.

Cottage Gallery in downtown Dowagiac will host Jolly ‘Ole St. Nick in its storefront window from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, while inside shoppers may view a vintage collection of more than 70 Santas.

“After the difficult year we have all had and having worked with Santa for the past 30 years, I couldn’t let this holiday season go by without children being able to see him, right here at home,” said Vickie Phillipson, Cottage Gallery owner.

Phillipson, who is also program director for the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority, has helped organize Christmas programming for the chamber for the past three decades.

Due to COVID-19 and state mandates, the chamber was unable to host Santa or its Christmas Open House Weekend, which is traditionally hosted in mid-November.  As such, Phillipson sought to present a safe and socially-distanced way for children to see St. Nick this weekend.

“As my gift to the community, families with young children will be able to see Santa this Saturday, as they experience a walk by and wave opportunity,” Phillipson said.  “Envision a life-size snow globe, whereby children will be able to view Santa, sitting within Cottage Gallery’s storefront window. For the safety of families and Santa, this is a socially distanced event with no contact or communication with Santa inside or outside of the store.”

Phillipson said children will have the opportunity to take home complimentary Santa stationary. They may also drop off their letters to Santa. A special mailbox will be available for children’s letters outside the shop. In addition to the special Santa stationary, children will also receive a complimentary holiday coloring book from Cottage Gallery while supplies last.

“Families visiting our storefront window are asked to mask up and socially distance themselves outside Cottage Gallery and while they are on the sidewalk,” Phillipson said. “We will have Xs on the sidewalk to help guide the public as they wait to view Santa through the window.”

Cottage Gallery, which opened in August, specializes in cottage-style furniture, and new and vintage home décor and gifts.

In celebration of her shop’s first holiday season, Phillipson will also showcase the 40-year Santa collection of her friend, the late Jane Anderson and Jane’s husband, Andy.  From the tiny two-inch Santa from the 1920s, made from pipe cleaners, to those made from felt of the1930s and the hand-carved Russian Santas, Phillipson said that each is as unique as the next.

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