By ROBB JEFFRIES, Grand Forks Herald
HALLOCK, Minn. (AP) -- When she was 18 years old, Judy Tureson's grandmother passed away. She left Tureson a small Santa Claus figurine.
"It sat in a drawer for a couple years," Tureson said. "When I took him out, he needed company."
Thirty-five years later, that Santa has plenty of company.
Tureson estimates that she now has more than 2,300 Santa Claus-themed decorations, all of which were on display during a recent open house at her home, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
Every available inch of counter space in the home of Judy and her husband, Jim Tureson, was covered in Santa figurines, snow globes and music boxes. A Santa floor mat greeted visitors at the front door, Santa pillows and a Santa blanket adorned the couch, and Santa cutlery and salt and pepper shakers sat amongst the Santa serving trays in the kitchen.
Some of the Santas do traditional Santa things, such as painting toys or riding in a sleigh. Others are a little more adventurous, riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles or playing the saxophone.
Many of the Santas move and make music, which is a source of consternation for the Turesons' two dogs. They were at a kennel during the open house, Jim Tureson said, because all the commotion would be too much for them to handle.
"The dogs go crazy when the sound-activated ones go off," he said. "One (Santa) will start playing, then they'll start barking, then it's chaos."
Judy Tureson estimates she adds about 50 new Santas to her collection each year.
"I inherited some of them from my mom when she passed," she said. "But a lot of them are birthday and Christmas presents."
Shopping for Santas has become a family affair, Tureson said. She pointed out a Santa wind chime hanging in the corner.
"That one my daughter got me while we were on vacation in Mexico," she said.
The Turesons said they started setting up the figurines just before Thanksgiving, and they won't take them all down until February. During the offseason, the Santa memorabilia is stored in their basement, where Jim Tureson said there are "floor-to-ceiling stacks of plastic tubs."
While they set them all up every holiday season, the Turesons only hold an open house every two to three years. This could be the last time the collection is on display in Hallock, though. The couple is looking to move to the Louisville, Ky., area to be closer to their family.
"I tried to keep the ones I like the most, but they're all keepers," Judy Tureson said.
"Every year it seems like I build a new shelf to hold them," said Jim Tureson, who was sporting a Santa tie that played music and a baseball hat with a Santa hat on top of it. "I've gone to rummage sales and bought a few to bring home, and Judy will say, 'I have that one.'"