With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, it won’t be long before everyone starts talking about their plans for Christmas. While a lot of people like to shop until they drop during this time of year, trying to find the best deals on gifts, one of my favorite activities in the suburban areas of Chicago has to do with the children in our neighborhood visiting with Santa Claus.
The Saturday following Thanksgiving, parents and children gather at the football field at Thornton Fractional South High School at 186 Burnham Avenue in Lansing, Ill., to see Santa Claus and his helpers fly in on a helicopter. When he arrives, Santa waves to the crowd from above before landing. Once the helicopter has landed, Santa shakes hands with all the children and asks them if they have been good this year and what kind of gifts they would like for Christmas. He also poses for pictures with the children. Once he has spoken to the children, Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves get into the helicopter and ride off into the sky, much as he does with his reindeer while making his rounds to each house on Christmas Eve.
In addition to the Santa sighting at the high school, children can also visit Santa at the Santa House next to the Chamber of Commerce office at Lake and Henry streets. The families wait outside and each is called in one by one. The children can take a picture sitting on Santa’s lap, and Mrs. Claus provides a mini stocking with holiday candy.
As an adult, I’ve realized that life has become way too busy and time seems to go by faster with each day. One of the reasons this is my favorite activity during the holiday season is because it is such a magical time of the year for young children. It also creates a good feeling inside to see them getting so excited about the chance to meet and greet with Santa and his family each year. The annual visit to the Santa House is a reminder of how excited my sister and I used to be when Christmas time rolled around. I can only hope the children of this generation will have as much enjoyment as parents with their children during the Christmas season as we do with them.