Not a mouse was in sight, and children were definitely not snuggled in their beds on Saturday, December 3, as Santa arrived at Coffee Corner in Santee to read stories and share the holiday spirit. Santa’s elves, who double as the coffee shop’s baristas during the regular year, were on hand to help with the fun. About 15 boys and girls and about two dozen adults gathered to kick off the Christmas season.
The Santa reading event was the brainchild of Santee resident and radio host (101 KGB FM) Clint August as a way to benefit both the community and his favorite coffee shop. “I started it with Duane Parks (owner of Coffee Corner) because I love seeing children get in the spirit of Christmas and I love the coffee shop. I figured it’s such a great, intimate location to have families come from Santee. They can see their children smile while meeting Santa.”
Before Santa’s “arrival,” the barista elves entertained the children, clowning around and pretending they were unable to find where the jolly old elf was. When he did appear, Santa explained that before he read the stories they had to light the decorated tree at the shop. He then went around and had each child touch a tree-topper star to start the “magic” needed to light the tree when it was put in place.
This year families were asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Santee Santas, a local organization that provides food and presents to needy families during the holiday season. In addition to the toys, food and nearly $100 were donated to help make the season a little brighter for some local families.
Photographer Penny Wilkinson was on hand taking pictures of the kids as they perched on Santa’s lap and shared their Christmas lists. According to August, the crowd was about one-third larger than the previous year. Asked about plans for the future, he said Santa would be returning every year for the foreseeable future. “I’d love to get my boys as Santa’s helpers one day,” August indicated. “Certainly all of the elves that were there last night would be great to have again. They were fantastic.”
Coffee Corner owner Parks later posted his appreciation on his Facebook page: “thank you to everyone who stopped by The Coffee Corner last night to visit with Santa…. It was truly a magical night… Many toys, food and nearly $100 were all donated to a local (Santee Santa’s). Thanks to Santa for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit with our kids, and thanks to his lovely elves who kept us organized and entertained (you girls are great elves, and Awesome Baristas too. Special thanks Penny Wilkinson and Chris Carmichael for capturing the evening on camera. God is good!”
For anyone who missed the event and would like to help Santee Santas, you can visit their website to find out more information.