The History Behind the Edina Fed's Santa House

How the Edina Federated Women’s Club created winter wonderland for kids.
At Santa House, the Federated Women's Club created life-sized gingerbread houses for kids to explore.

Behind every good man, there’s a good woman. Behind every Santa, there’s a hard-working Mrs. Claus.

Sure, Santa listens to children’s wishes, drives the sleigh and manages the elves. But Mrs. Claus makes Christmas come alive by decorating the tree, building gingerbread houses, baking goodies and helping children pick out gifts for their parents.

No one knows this better than the Edina Federated Women’s Club, who created holiday magic every year with their popular Santa House.

For more than 24 years, the group transformed Braemar Golf Course Clubhouse into a winter wonderland for Edina children. The women painted and decorated child-sized gingerbread houses for kids to explore, and helped them decorate smaller ones to take home. They made crafts and baked treats, and spent months working on the event that not only entertained children, but also raised money for a variety of community projects.

Santa House was a perfect fit for the group, which began in 1969 for women under age 45. Most were young mothers, and many of their first projects focused on children, including advocating for bike paths and purchasing furniture for inner-city children.

Santa House ended in 1999, but the Feds still support community organizations through their annual Feds Fest, coming up on January 14.  The group, which now includes women of all ages, has raised close to one million dollars for local organizations. Mrs. Claus likes to play Santa, too.


Santa House, a memorable tradition for many Edina children, is featured in the “Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit” on display through fall 2012 at the Edina History Museum.