Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105 Page 106 Page 107 Page 108 Page 109 Page 110 Page 111 Page 112 Page 113 Page 114 Page 115 Page 116 Page 117 Page 118 Page 119 Page 120 Page 121 Page 122 Page 123 Page 124 Page 125 Page 126 Page 127 Page 128 Page 129 Page 130 Page 131 Page 132 Page 133 Page 134 Page 135 Page 136 Page 137 Page 138 Page 139 Page 140 Page 141 Page 142 Page 143 Page 144 Page 145 Page 146 Page 147 Page 148 CHESTERCOUNTY-LIFE.COM / November/December 2016 27 five-and-dime store with shelves crammed with vintage Christmas toys and merchan- dise from the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. A long- time collector, Morrison hunted down and purchased each item one at a time. SANTA LIVES If you have any doubt that Santa Claus is real, the National Christmas Center will provide all the proof you need! The white- bearded Morrison, who resembles the “right jolly old elf” and has been inducted into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame, as- serts that Santa Claus carries on the minis- try of Saint Nicholas, whose love of children dates back nearly 1,700 years. He points to a poem that is on display at the museum and was obtained from the New-York His- torical Society. Dating back to 1810, the poem depicts Saint Nicholas as the original Santa Claus. In addition to nearly 100 images of Santa that depict how the Christmas icon has evolved over the centuries, the museum displays a copy of the original handwritten letter from Virginia O’Hanlon, the young girl who wrote to The New York Sun in 1897 inquiring if Santa Claus is real. Visi- tors can also hear Virginia read her letter in a video that is not available anywhere else, according to Morrison. Also remarkable is the desk where Morrison believes Clement Moore wrote his famous poem, “The Night Before Christmas.” Similar to the Dickens Christmas Vil- lage, the museum’s Tudor Towne replicates a whimsical English village with 125 animal figurines in Old World costumes. “It’s like walking through the pages of a storybook,” Morrison tells children before they enter the exhibit. The dreamy world continues in Santa’s North Pole workshop where animated elves make it a magically moving experience. During the holidays, a real-life Santa makes appearances at the National Christmas Cen- ter on Thursdays through Sundays. O’ HOLY NIGHT Setting the stage for the holiday’s true meaning is a gallery of 300 nativities from around the world including a spectacular one from the 1800s. Called ‘O’ Holy Night,’ the wooden nativity was hand-carved in northern Italy. Morrison, who extensively researched the Biblical stories in order to ensure genu- ine portrayal, takes visitors on the ‘Journey to Bethlehem,’ which follows in the foot- steps of Mary and Joseph. As the Christmas story unfolds, visitors join Jesus’ parents from Nazareth to Bethlehem on their dif- ficult trek, complete with sights and sounds from this Biblical period. Seventeen of the 40 life-size wax figures in the museum can be found in this last amazing exhibit, depicting the key Biblical figures from the birth of Christ. The National Christmas Center is a place that triggers fond memories and touches people’s hearts. Says Morrison: “You have to see it in person to appreciate the wonder- ment. Just viewing people’s faces when they visit, I can sense their delight.” And that joy, more than anything, makes Jim happy. 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