Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

December 14, 2010

A visit with Santa

More than 550 children strolled through a Christmas maze last week to meet Santa, many of them for the first time.

TAHLEQUAH — After standing in line with the other children from Jean Parker’s daycare last week, 18-month-old Aliviah Stricker finally met Father Christmas.

Santa, who bore a slight resemblance to local resident Don Ward, grinned and placed Aliviah on his lap. She gave him the once-over, as if trying to determine whether he was the real deal, and if his beard was legitimate. He smiled and handed her a candy cane, a sign of the season and proof that the jolly old elf knows how to bring a smile to children’s faces.

Friday morning, Tahlequah Public Library hosted a special day with Santa for more than 550 children.

“We scheduled schools to come meet Santa,” said library Youth Services Coordinator Michelle Parnell. “We only had seven slots, and those filled up within 24 hours.”

After the scheduled schools, other families were invited to meet and greet Santa. Their trip started with Christmas stories, Christmas songs and finger plays led by Parnell.

Group by group, children then filed into the Carnegie Room for a quick visit with Santa, along with a photo to capture the memory.

“This is his first Christmas, so we’re going to see if we can get a good photo with Santa for a Christmas card,” said Sandra Lee, speaking of her 8-month-old son Kyle. “Our [5-year-old] daughter Karlee came too, but this won’t be the first time she’s met Santa. She’s ready to tell him what she wants for Christmas.”

Which, by the way, is a new bicycle, according to Karlee.

Isaac Wagnon, 2-1/2, put a big grin on his face for a photo with Santa. Isaac, a little shy, had met Santa before – but as Christmas approaches each year, it’s never a bad idea to check in and let the jolly guy know you’re still a good kid.

Isaac is asking Santa for some toy cars this year.

Three-year-old twins Ebonie and Emma Poppino also met Santa – though they were just a bit unsure about the whole ordeal.

Both hope Santa brings them Barbie four-wheelers this year.

Three-year-old Jakob Adams waited patiently in line with family members, then finally got his moment with Santa. This year, he’s asking for a Lightning McQueen learning laptop.

(For those unaware, Lightning McQueen is the main protagonist in the 2006 Pixar animation “Cars.”)

“The library bought Christmas bags to give to every child,” said Parnell.

Inside were a stuffed animal, a pen or pencil, a notebook and other items. Some of the first children in line received various children’s books, which were supplied by Cherokee Nation, according to Parnell.

Several volunteers helped keep Friday morning’s massive meet-and-greet with Santa in order, along with Parnell: Lyn Arter, Julie and Rebekah Poor, Cherokee Kimpel, Rochelle Smith, and Sharon and Bethany Parnell.

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