Author – Blogger – Collector
After collecting Santa Claus figurines for thirty-five years while practicing law in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., Tom A. Jerman retired at the end of 2015 and moved to Asheville, N.C., where he began writing a book on the history of Santa Claus.
Tom obtained bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and journalism and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Utah. He was employed as a copy editor with The Salt Lake Tribune between 1974-78, and practiced labor and employment law with two of the nation’s largest law firms for thirty-five years. In 2015, he took early retirement to pursue his desire to write something more interesting and enduring than legal treatises. After five years of work, Tom published Santa Claus Worldwide: A History of St. Nicholas and Other Holiday Gift-Bringers, a comprehensive history of the world’s midwinter gift-givers, in May 2020.
Tom had been a serious collector of Santa Claus figurines and ornaments for thirty-five years, amassing a collection of some 4500 figurines and ornaments and thousands of antique postcards printed between 1900 and 1910–a collection that required constructing another floor on his Asheville home. The hallmark of Tom’s collection, and what prompted him to write Santa Claus Worldwide, is the enormous diversity of figures—temporal, geographic, historical, size, attire, date of gift-giving, mode of travel, etc.—
all of whom are nonetheless immediately recognizable as “Santa.”
Santa Claus Worldwide is the first volume of a planned trilogy that will include a volume on the authorship of “The Night Before Christmas” and a volume on collecting Santa Claus figurines. If all goes according to plan, the second volume will be published in 2021, the bicentennial of The Children’s Friend, an 1821 children’s book that created the original version of “Santeclaus,” a bearded gift-giver who rode a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, entered homes through the chimney and left presents in stockings the children had hung the night before. The third volume, currently under construction, will be a guide for individuals who collect Santa Claus figurines and ornaments.