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Salem man spends decades making wood carvings, specifically of Santa

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 4:48 PM EST
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - “A little piece at a time, see, you can shave it,” says Thomas Crickenberger as he works on another carving.

All he needs to stay entertained for hours is a pocket knife and a spool of wood.

“She is 82 and I just turned 89 so we don’t do a whole lot of big traveling,” joked Crickenberger.

Since 1957 the Crickenbergers have lived in a Salem house, They’ve been married 63 years and have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Through the years Thomas’s passion for carving has stayed the same.

“I’ve had a pocket knife in my pocket since I was 8 years old; you use a pocket knife for everything,” said Crickenberger.

But every Christmas, the subject of his pieces is strictly old St. Nick.

“I give them to people who enjoy them,” said Crickenberger.

Thomas doesn’t know how many he’s made, but he can show you Santas carved into toothpicks and Santas that stand two feet tall.

“The problem I’m having with this one is this was a picture and it was flat,” explained Crickenberger.

Some are easy; some are more intricate, but they all make him happy.

“I’ll never stop carving; it’s just a part of me, unless they take my knives away from me, but I don’t think they’re gonna do that,” said Crickenberger.

It’s a Christmas craft that will be part of this family for many generations to come.

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