Black Woman-Owned Etsy Shop Sells HBCU-Themed Black Santas

After years of collecting Black Santas, this enthusiast has partnered with HBCUs to sell figurines themed after Black colleges and universities. 

The figurines—designed by Debra L. Mars—feature sweaters, flags, bags, and ornaments repping Howard University, Morehouse College, Grambling University and FAMU, Good Black News reported

The Inglewood, Calif. resident began stocking up on Black Santas more than 35 years ago. 

“I traveled the country and would pick them up whenever I saw them, especially in the Southern states,” Mars said. “My fascination came about when I reflected on how my mother only had one childhood toy; it was a white doll that looked nothing like her—that was triggering for me.”

Grambling University Black Santa
(HBCU Black Santa by Debra L. Mars/Etsy, Restore The Hope)

For Mars, producing the Black Santas and sharing them with customers is about reminding people “what a precious gift they are to the world.”


“The Santa to me is symbolic of spiritual gifts and talents rather than what’s in the box under the tree,” she said. “It saddens me that so many people feel worthless and undervalued. That is why our branding tagline for the Black Santa Cause Collective is ‘unwrap your gifts’.”

Mars jumped many obstacles, including supply chain challenges, to finally live in her passion. 

For her, it’s an honor to represent HBCUs in this way. Though she didn’t attend one, while researching and finding out many great influential people, like Thurgood Marshall and Samuel L. Jackson attended, she was “so proud and a little remorseful that I did not attend a HBCU.”

(Courtesy Debra Mars)

“This dream was planted in me over 25 years ago to create this line. This has been a master class on perseverance. Having the opportunity to represent our sacred jewels: The HBCUs is an honor that I do not take lightly.”

Through her store, Restore The Hope, Mars also offers Black nutcrackers, Santa-themed bracelets and more holiday goodies.

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