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Each year, we introduce the Nantucket Santa during the Small Friends on Nantucket’s annual Nantucket Art and Artisan Show. With the show being cancelled this year, we’re accepting donations where 100% collected will directly benefit the the 70 children whose families work at 96 companies and organizations on Nantucket.
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Any sailor will tell you that the Nantucket Shoals have gained a reputation for creating rough seas at unpredictable depths, often wrecking ships deviating from the transatlantic shipping lane. The 2014 Nantucket Santa pays homage to a bit of oceanic history: the Nantucket Lightship.
Starting in 1853, the Lightship Nantucket was a lightvessel that helped mark the hazardous Nantucket Shoals and guide ships to safety through its iconic light. Although there were 11 light vessels over the 165-year history, the Lightship 117 is depicted in the turbulent waters around Santa’s feet. On his back is an aerial illustration of the island and, draped over his arm is a replica of a NOAA nautical chart showing the famous shallow waters of the Nantucket Shoals.
Wearing the famous Nantucket Red, this figure is simply detailed with a black anchor for a button and a blue and white seersucker hat. Featured prominently in his hand, a symbol all of the Nantucket Santas share, is a Nantucket basket inspired by Filipino schoolteacher, Jose Formoso Reyes, who is credited with creating the first Nantucket friendship basket in 1948.
This Nantucket Santa is the perfect combination of Christmas tradition with Nautical history that is sure to inspire the start of a new tradition—in winter or summer!