Oskaloosa.com

Local News

December 24, 2012

Santa brings hope to area children

OSKALOOSA — Santa and Mrs. Claus were at Penn Central Mall Saturday to hear what people want for Christmas.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were in comfy, easy chairs to greet visitors Saturday morning. They said their last day to visit Oskaloosa would be Sunday.

In general, Santa gave a good report card for the local children who visited him this year.

“They’ve been nicer,” Santa said. “They have been improving every year.”

Electronics and dolls have been the popular gifts children have asked for this year, the jolly elf said.

Children have asked for iPods, a Nintendo DS, an X-box and a PS 3 and games, he said. Girls have asked for Baby Alive and American Girl dolls. He said kids have asked for two Teddy bears also.

While most requests Santa has received have been fun, he also has heard some really poignant stories.

“There’s been quite a few families who are separated or have lost a member,” he said. “Santa is part counselor. There’s a lot of pain out there.

“One little girl lost her dad. There’s not too much I can do but listen,” Santa said.

Santa said there’s never a dull moment on the weekends he has been in Oskaloosa.

“We’ve been pretty busy — busier this year than last,” he said. “I really enjoy coming to Oskaloosa.”

Mrs. Claus agrees.

The best part of visiting Oskaloosa is the children, she said.

“I get to hold babies. I enjoy listening to the children and we laugh,” Mrs. Claus said. “Just seeing the kids — it’s just wonderful. The adults are fun too.”

Mrs. Claus said she got to talk a lot about a topic that is dear to her heart — baking cookies.

Santa had some advice for adults for a happier holiday season.

“Grown-ups have to stop being too serious. It’s rubbing off on the children,” he said.

Santa also added that if little children are scared, their parents should not just place them on his lap. Recently, a young child gave Santa a wet lap, he said.

What does Santa want for Christmas?

“Santa wants people to wake up and realize what life is really about,” he said. “Quit being selfish and help each other.”

What does Mrs. Claus want for Christmas?

“Joy. I just want joy for the world,” she said.

Who is the oldest person to sit on Santa’s lap? He said he had a lady in her 70s sit on his lap this year. The youngest has been a 3-month-old baby.

Santa said one of his fondest Christmas memories of Oskaloosa happened a couple of years ago when he, Mrs. Claus and a couple of girls delivered a bunch of stuffed animals to Mahaska Health Partnership. Santa said he received a letter of appreciation for the act of kindness.

Santa said he likes to give children hope.

“Kids today, compared to 20 years ago, need hope more,” he said.

Christina Peiffer, of Sigourney, brought Briana McLaughlin, Kia Montgomery and Kaylee Visser, all of Sigourney, to visit Santa Saturday morning.

Peiffer said the group was at the mall to do some shopping.

“We didn’t know Santa was here. We just stopped by,” she said.

Were they at the mall to do some last-minute Christmas shopping?

“We’re just birthday shopping and it’s something to do,” she said.

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Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com

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