Hampton Tradition Revived After 25 Years

By Steve Haberman, Hampton Bureau Chief

Hampton Union, Monday, December 24, 1990

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

The mid-1960s was the last time Santa and his sleigh appeared atop Lamie's Inn & Tavern.
[1950 photo courtesy David F. Colt, Jr.]

HAMPTON -- Many changes around town signal the beginning of the holiday season in Hampton: Decorations that appear almost overnight on the utility poles that line Route 1; the annual chill in the air; the rosy cheeks of the children on their way to the last days of school before the long vacation.

Residents who have lived in this town for some time may remember the holiday season beginning with the sudden appearance of Santa and his reindeer atop Lamie's Inn and Tavern at the corner of Lafayette and the Exeter-Hampton roads.

The bright and glittering symbol lighted the way for holiday travelers and town residents alike from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s. Then for some reason, Santa and his sleigh have been absent from their perch in the center of town for the past quarter century.

Enter Peter Morales, and Antonino and Maria Ritzi, the new owners of Lamie's. The three, in an effort to bring the landmark tavern and in back to its former prominence, decided that the 1990 holiday season would see a rebirth of the lost tradition of Santa and his team atop their building.

Thanks to the efforts of Glen French and Judy DuBois of the Hampton Beach Area Chamber of Commerce who supplied the sleigh, Louis DuBois who constructed the reindeer, Pam Patterson who painted the sculpture, and the folks at Depot Honda who supplied the forklift that placed Santa and his sleigh on the roof.

Many in town, for whom Santa and reindeer shining atop Lamie's really signified Christmas, are undoubtedly pleased that so many in town joined in the true spirit of the holidays to bring back this lost piece of Hampton's history.