It seems that all I needed was a visit from Santa to get me in the spirit of Christmas. Watching the children react to Santa Claus and the wide-eyed wonder in their eyes is magical. It was such a joy to help with the drive-by Santa night at the Stevens County Times, especially witnessing the joy on the faces of most of the children.
The decision to hold the drive-by event was kind of made on the spur of the moment. We were having our weekly meeting to plan the next edition and it was brought up that we just have no way this year to get pictures of Santa and children. That is when we decided to invite him to visit our office and get the word out to parents in the area.
Even though it was short notice, we had a huge turn-out. We estimate about 150 children drove by to talk to Santa and drop off their letters. Our staff dressed up as Care Bears to hand out treats, direct traffic, take pictures, and help Santa take in all the letters. We had a blast. We were all very tired at the end of the three hours but it was worth it.
As we slumped around the conference table enjoying pizza after Santa left, we reflected on the many children and some of the reactions. We had children absolutely jumping in their car seats in anticipation and then we also had some screaming in terror when they saw Santa.
We all decided that this was a much better way to wait for Santa than to stand in line for long periods of time waiting to sit on his lap. I am not sure if the parents and children agree, but it seemed to really move along well. We had a constant line of cars, everyone stayed inside, some parents allowed the children out of their car seats to get a better view and some even allowed them to remove masks.
As we all packed up to go home, I couldn’t help but think about the joy on the faces of these children. Even though we were all really tired, I realized that we probably made the day for these kids. Despite the restrictions associated with the pandemic, the children should not be the ones who have to suffer. In this small way, we maintained just a little bit of normalcy during the Christmas of 2020.