To say Pam Taylor Jansa loves Christmas would be like saying Eric Clapton dabbles with the guitar. She is a full-fledged fangirl, and her fandom is the holiday season.
Pam, who is semi-retired from Taylor Oil Company, and husband Steve, a retired CPA, live in a sprawling five-bedroom 1934 farmhouse situated on six acres in south Sioux Falls. The home was built by a local doctor at a time when 57th Street was considered so far out, his wife flatly refused to move there, only retreating to the property in the summertime. However, as the town began migrating south, the doctor’s wife’s view softened and she finally made it her full-time residence.
Next, it was owned by Pam’s in-laws, Jess and Alice Taylor. Pam and first husband Tom bought the home in 1978. 26 years ago, Pam and Steve were married and have continued to make the house a gathering place for their combined five children and 10 grandchildren.
Stepping into the red and white wallpapered entryway of the Jansas home, their affinity for the season is already apparent. Near the door stands a small Christmas tree adorned with photos of their grandkids. Above the tree is a framed cross-stitch featuring several images of Santa Claus. Atop a chest of drawers is an elaborately carved and painted Santa display purchased on a trip to North Carolina.
“We went into a shop that was selling Scottish sweaters and stuff and in the back of the shop, there were all of these hand-carved Santas,” Pam recalled. “The woman who owned the shop would fly to Russia and go to this little village where these teachers were making these items. She would bring them back and sell them. I said, ‘Wow, you could get more money for this,’ and she said, ‘They need the money desperately, so I want a quick turnover.’”
Entering the living room, the sheer number of Santas and other pieces of Christmas memorabilia is astonishing by any objective measure. And as we make our way through the room, it becomes clear that despite the enormity of the collection, each piece was hand selected by Pam and Steve for very specific reasons. The couple is able to recount the backstory of each, giving them an air of museum curators, as opposed to casual collectors. The Santa Clauses in the Jansas collection have been procured during their extensive travels throughout the U.S. and world.
To read the full article, pick up the December issue or click here. For more photos, continue to scroll.