Jolly old elf appears at Kannapolis library

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Michelle G. Lyerly

Kannapolis Citizen

The real Santa Claus has come to town, and on Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon, he paid a special visit to the children at Kannapolis Branch Library — “Real beard, real hair, everything’s real. There’s no fake about it,” said Claus.

The purpose was to give children a chance to get their pictures taken with Santa in a less stressful atmosphere, make seasonal crafts and, hopefully, check out a book on the way out.

“Another perfect time to check out a library book,” said Donna Popejoy, grandmother of Emily and Hannah, who were visiting her this weekend.

According to children’s librarian Ginger Russell, this event gives “our youngest patrons” an alternative to the craziness of mall lines.

“It provides a casual relaxed atmosphere, unlike the mall, where the kids can spend time and warm up to him,” said Russell, who added that although the library has hosted this event “a number of years,” this is the first year the library is offering seasonal crafts.

“It’s a good program they have,” said grandmother Cathy Duncan. “It beats standing in the mall in those awful lines.”

This year, wish lists included everything from Barbie dolls to guitars, from lip gloss rings to Soda Pop Girls. Young Bilaysia, 3, wanted “everything Dora.” Her sister Aitana, 10, wanted an electric scooter, a motorcycle bike and candy.

Joseph Witkowski, 3, knew exactly what he wanted.

“I want Batman, Spiderman and the Hulk,” he said. “And please give my brother Thomas (the Tank Engine) for Christmas.”

And with all that said, Santa was still not off the hook.

“Where’s your sleigh?” asked Joseph.

“Out in the woods. It’s magic,” replied Santa. “Keeps the hunters from shooting Rudolph.”

“He’s seen ‘The Polar Express,’ so he knows all about Santa Claus,” said Joseph’s dad, Pete Witkowski.

Heather Brady, mother of Emma and Joshua, commented that Emma, 3, could not wait to meet Santa.

“It’s all she’s been talking about all morning long!” her mother exclaimed.

As expected, little Joshua, 1, cried when he sat on Santa’s lap.

“Maybe next year,” said Brady.

When asked if he had been a good boy this year, Sky Jordan, 5, told Santa, “I give gift cards to everyone in my family. I’ve got one for you.Thanks for the candy canes!”

Tim and Deborah Robson were excited about bringing their older children, Isaac, 11, and Micaela, 9, to the event.

“We always participate in Christmas events at the library,” said Deborah Robson. “As long as they (the kids) keep that magic in their hearts, we’ll keep participating.”

She added that her kids “do and don’t believe” in Santa Claus.

According to Santa, who was also featured at an event this Tuesday for mentally handicapped children sponsored by the Kannapolis Police Department, the most touching request came from a child who asked Santa to bring his grandparents.

“That’s the only thing he wanted,” said Santa.

Contact Michelle Lyerly at 704-932-3336 or