Families began arriving around 5:00 PM to get their pictures with Santa. Some little children at the front of the line who were waiting for a long time were greeted by "Mrs. Claus" (aka Virginia Almon) and allowed into the Homestead early to write letters to Santa, draw, or color. Others on the porch were happily working on the St. Nicholas Word Search. Then around 6 PM Santa Claus arrived to cheers by all. Into the Homestead came parents carrying little ones and holding onto toddlers or pushing strollers. Mrs. Claus greeted each personally and showed participants how pioneers used corncobs to make Christmas presents. Her corncob basket held corncob checkers, pipe, doll, and darts. Especially beautiful cornhusks ladies holding infants dressed in pink or blue flowing gowns were shown for all to appreciate. Many tried the corncob dart throw and tasted the ginger cake or Christmas cornbread. Mrs. Almon demonstrated the hand-carved honey bear (made with love) beating the drum and getting some honey or the trapeze toys. The beat reminded participants of music and some volunteered to play the items at hand -rattles, bells, bones, spoons, washboard, tambourine, etc. and sing Christmas carols. Still other children were focused on coloring and drawing awaiting their turn for a session with Santa. Those in line progressed slowly to the top table to watch the spinning tops or shoot the popgun. Mr. Almon showed how three pieces of wood could make a star. Few could duplicate how to do it though. Mr. and Mrs. Almon also demonstrated finger string art of making a tea cup that with three extra moves turned into a star. Older kids asked for the Jacob's Ladder demo, but it was not available on Friday. Mrs. Almon made sure she did the Jacob Ladder Story on Saturday.
Overheard: people made the comments that they liked the mantel decoration that made the backdrop for their picture with Santa. Also, many were pleased that the line went very quickly this year.
A few little ones snuck out of line to move the figures of the Nativity and recall The Christmas Story.
One special girl worked the shadow puppets and told The Christmas Story so clearly.
Our resident buffalo Elmo whose house has been somewhat neglected in the Christmas decorating scheme over the years will be decorated the week before Christmas with a vintage-paper chain made by patient participants. Those who made the paper chain were given a copy of the prayer "Whenever I Journey by Patrick Sayles, SSC
Whenever I Journey
Send your Spirit to accompany me,
So that whenever I journey,
I journey with your blessing.
I travel with your peace.
I go with your inspiration.
I do for your glory.
Amen. Fr. Patrick Sayles, SSC