Cookies with Santa

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Five-year-old Arabella Jackson shows her shy side during a visit with Santa Claus at the Cookies with Santa event at the Ironton City Center Friday.

While many families spent the days before Christmas standing in long lines and fighting through large crowds just to get a picture with Santa Claus, some decided to forego the craziness of the holiday rush and enjoy a more relaxed Christmas experience.

The third annual Cookies With Santa was Friday at the Ironton City Center. The event provided families the chance not only to have their picture taken with the big man himself, but also to enjoy free cookies and entertainment in a community-oriented setting.

Nikki Hall, mother of Emma and Cameron, said this was her first time at this event, and she is glad she came.

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“This is more for families,” Hall said. “The mall is more ‘get them in and get them out,’ but here they took the time to talk, hug and really just get involved with the kids.”

Stacy Rowe, mother of Jonah, agreed with Hall. Rowe said she had gone to the Ashland Town Center in the past, but better enjoyed the atmosphere of Cookies With Santa.

“I’d rather come here than go all the way to the Ashland mall,” Rowe said. “It’s usually about $30 for the smallest packet of pictures there and here it’s $5 for one picture — and that’s all I really need.”

The event has grown each year, said Kristen Martin, Ironton finance director. She said the main purpose of the event is to show the community Ironton wants to accommodate them during the Christmas season.

“This event is sort of our last ditch effort for the kids to come in and see Santa,” Martin said. “Their parents don’t have to charge the mall. We know those are packed and the lines are long and so this is something local where the kids can see Santa, enjoy some cookies and entertainment.”

Martin also said the event could not have been a success without the help of dedicated volunteers.

“Last year it was just the city workers, but the event has grown and we needed more people,” Martin said. “Our biggest help has been the Ironton Middle School girls basketball team. They have really stepped up and have done whatever we needed them to do.”

Coming together outside of basketball not only helps the girls see children happy during the holidays, but also helps the team grow closer said seventh grader Ali Waters.

“We started working really good as a team and we thought it’d be a good idea to come together and work on a project off the court,” Waters said. “We are enjoying this and hope to keep doing stuff like this.”

The cookies the basketball team helped hand out were provided by Tipton’s Traditions while dancers from the Yvonne Dekay School of Dance provided the entertainment.