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City's Santa Is Scurrying

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City’s Santa Is Scurrying

Think you’re busy with Christmas preparations?

You should see Santa Claus!

Ann Arbor's “Santa Claus,” that is. 

For most of the year he’s Albert E. Warnhoff of 1315 Franklin Blvd., but any day now he’ll be pasting on the whiskers and traveling to hospitals and orphanages to bring his special brand of Christmas cheer to ill and underprivileged youngsters.

The local Santa has lots of help. Many civic groups provide equipment and materials for him to fashion into toys. Other organizations — including local law enforcement units—transport him and his load of fun to the bedsides of the little ones.

But basically it’s Warnhoff’s work that brings the grins in children’s hospital wards throughout the area.

Right now—his year’s toy-making nearly finished in his basement workshop —he’s getting ready to distribute the fruits of his 1960 labors. This year he’s made 2,050 toys, bringing his total toy output to 41,000 playthings in the 58 years he’s been a real-life Santa Claus.

This year’s toys have filled up his basement, his garage and his bedroom. There's even an overflow under the kitchen table which, he chuckles, annoys his wife a trifle.

It all started back in 1902, Warnhoff recalls, when his heart melted by a five-year-old. curly-haired girl who was suffering from diphtheria. He made her a toy with rough hand-tools. Her appreciation was so great that Warnhoff made more toys for other ailing youngsters.

He's been at it ever since.

[image]:  ‘Santa’ Warnhoff