A Christmas Tradition

A Christmas Tradition

January 8, 2020

Grandson Shares 35 Years Worth of Santa Creations with Grandmother


Adam Johnson thought the Christmas celebration was noisy and rushed downstairs to color a Santa Claus for his grandmother, Ruth Johnson.

“He brought up the first little Santa Claus that he drew when he was four and was going to be five the next day, and we just thought it was incredible for a four-year- old,” Ruth said.

Ruth, who lives in a lakeside cottage at The Summit, kept the drawing, asking for another Santa the following year. It’s become an annual tradition for 35 years.

Adam, a professional artist living in Roanoke with his wife and two sons, loves creating something special for his grandmother. “For me, it was part of Christmas to do it,” Adam said.

Once a teenager, the drawings became more elaborate and were given as Christmas gifts.

“They’re all just kind of their own memories. They all represent a different Christmas,” Adam said.

The Summit staff put Ruth’s Santa collection on display in the second-floor gallery, just outside the dining room, in December. Residents hosted Adam for a meet-the-artist reception.

“This has been an incredible story and it’s typical of our family. We came together every Christmas. We knew we were going to get a Santa Claus. It was going to be something we were going to like,” Ruth said.

Adam delivered Ruth’s Christmas present—a picture of Santa smoking a pipe—just before the reception.