Handcrafted Santas available at Keeler Tavern’s Holiday Boutique

Each one of Karen McChesney’s Santas is created by the longtime Ridgefield resident, artist and curator of exhibitions at Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center to have its own personality and no two look alike.

McChesney, who many residents might know as an art teacher in the Ridgefield elementary school system for 20 years, labors for months before the holidays, crafting nearly every detail of the figures.

This year, four such Santas will be available for sale exclusively at the Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center Holiday Boutique beginning Dec. 10.

The Holiday Boutique runs Tuesday through Saturday, Dec. 10-14, from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, from 1 to 4 p.m.

McChesney began making Santas with a friend, Cynthia, in 1989 as part of Santas, Etc. a business the two women operated. Together, until about 2010, they sold their handmade creations at craft shows in and around the area.

“These Santas are most certainly a labor of love,” said McChesney. “Even our husbands made bases and special-request items and transported the figures into show venues in good weather and bad.”

After her friend retired, McChesney downsized the business and began making fewer of the figures in her studio at home. Her late husband continued to assist as well, often cutting berries or branches to adorn the dolls.

Today, McChesney handcrafts the Santas to sell locally with fond memories of her friend and husband.

For additional information, visit www.keelertavernmuseum.org/events.