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Santa Clothes: The Countdown to Christmas Doll is this season’s newest tradition. One year before founder Kevin A. Pierce was born, his parents, Dic and Roberta, introduced the first Santa Clothes doll. A means to quiet the countless questions asking, “how many more days until Christmas?” Dic and Roberta fashioned the idea of a daily dress-up doll. Their handmade Santa doll and twelve clothing items allowed Pierce and his four older siblings to share in the fun of outfitting Santa and when no clothes remained, Christmas day had arrived. Pierce reflects fondly on his parents’ clever collaboration. “It really was teamwork,” he says. “I can’t say my dad invented it, I can’t say my mom invented it. It was something they did together.” The original Santa Clothes doll remains in the Haverhill home where Pierce grew up. Now in Andover with his wife and two daughters, Pierce wanted a doll of their own. He set out to create his own Santa Clothes doll at a point in his life he says was “perfect timing.” His youngest daughter was one year old and he had been laid off. “It felt like the timing was right,” says Pierce, “I thought, if ever I’m going to do this, I now have this license to.” To begin, Pierce commissioned the help of a seasoned plush toy designer with a specialty in “cute.” They took time to ensure his doll had just the right look. “I worked hard getting the design so he is approachable and friendly looking,” says Pierce. He admits achieving that wasn’t as easy as it might seem. Santa Clothes arrived fresh to market at the end of October 2018, just in time for holiday shopping. Pierce is thrilled with the feedback he is getting and loves receiving images for his Facebook page, demonstrating how families are displaying their doll’s clothes and the children’s enthusiastic reactions. He is most pleased with comments regarding the interactive nature of the product. “The fact that you can interact with this doll is something that people haven’t quite seen,” says Pierce. “They are used to Christmas decorations you aren’t allowed to touch, but this is a toy they can play with, that is also a tradition.” Pierce has also learned from teachers and occupational therapists that the doll is a great tool for young children looking to advance their fine motor skills. He is thrilled that the joy of his creation also has a helpful educational component. Kevin Pierce is proudly displaying Santa Clothes dolls at Helen Thomas Simply Smashing and The Learning Express in Andover and Tuck’s Candies & Gifts in Rockport. Online purchases can be made at Amazon and For Pierce, when you give someone a Santa Clothes doll, it’s more than a present or a toy. “You’re not giving a gift,” he says, “You’re giving a tradition – it’s timeless.”