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'It reminds me of my father', Delta Township woman shares the inspiration behind her Black Santa collection

Phebeit Ingram
Posted at 4:01 PM, Dec 21, 2022

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Twas a couple nights before Christmas and Phebeit Ingram is ready.

"Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I love to decorate for Christmas," Ingram said. "I love all the bright colors. I love all the glitter. I love the sparkle. I love it. Because Christmas is just a very special time of year for me."

Special because it takes her back to all those Christmas' with her father.

“My father worked so much. He was our provider. And so he didn't have a lot of time to go to our basketball games. He didn't have a lot of time to be to take us here or there," Ingham said. “But what he did do is he made our Christmas' so special. My father was always so joyful and jolly.”

And then one day, all those childhood memories came flooding back when she saw a two foot Santa in a store.

“His attire was so beautiful. He was gorgeous," Ingram said. “He was caucasian. And I fell in love with him. But I was just like representation. I wish he looked like me.”

But that Santa did look like someone. Someone very dear to her heart.

“I said daddy. He reminded me of my daddy. My daddy is a sharp dresser. My daddy wore some sharp clothes," Ingram said. “I got that beautiful santa. And I painted him.”

And it didn’t stop there. Filled with joy she set out on a quest to find more.

And after 35 years of collecting them from all over. Her Black Santa collection continues to grow.

“Whenever I see a Black Santa, I can't hardly pass him by. I look at him so closely, I look at his features, because it reminds me of my father," Ingram said. “I do not know how many I have hundreds. I have hundreds. I was trying to count them because I knew you were coming. I stopped when I got to 200 I stopped.”

Her collection includes small ones, big ones, sleepy ones, animated ones, and even Santas that have different types of transportation.

“To let the young people know that Santa gets to everybody. And he has different modes of transportation," Ingram said.

For her all these Santas make memories flood back. She just wishes it was the same for her dad.

“He has Alzheimer's now or dementia. And so he still kind of has this little sense of humor, but it comes and it goes. It's kind of bittersweet because I can still share Christmas with him. But it's not the same," Ingram said. “When I look at him now he's different now than he was then. But he's still there.”

And that’s what’s most important. That he’s still here and that they can get lost in the collection that was inspired by him.

“I walked with him through it. And I told him daddy, I did this because they remind me of you. I love you so much," Ingram said.

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