Holiday spirit not diminished by long waits to meet St. Nick

November 21, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

HALFWAY - Corey Jackson and his older brother, Michael Hunter, had smiles on their faces Saturday morning. They were waiting to see Santa at Valley Mall.

"A four wheeler!" Corey, 5, cried gleefully after he was asked what he was going to ask Santa to bring him on Christmas. He listed other items he also wanted: a necklace, a car from the new movie "The Incredibles" and an item from the lengthy SpongeBob SquarePants collection.

Michael, 6, said he wanted a remote-control car and the ESPN Game Station, described by his mother as a portable sports complex.


The line to see Santa snaked around the miniature village that was built inside the mall for Santa. The line of children and their parents appeared to hold strong at well over 100, even as Santa's helpers ushered the boys and girls through at a good pace.

Gloria Jackson of Smithsburg, said her boys, Caleb and Michael, were excited to come to the mall. And apparently, so were many others because it was the biggest crowd Jackson said she had seen.

"It's been kind of fun. ... Everyone's pretty nice. It was pretty crowded when we got here first," Jackson said.

Linda Dixon of Keedysville brought her two grandchildren, Karsyn and J.J. Burker, to the mall. At the back of the line, Dixon collected the youngsters' coats expecting a long wait.

The wait, however, did not fluster J.J., 3, who knew in one word what he was going to ask for.

"Thomas," J.J. said.

Santa, Dixon said, certainly would know that J.J. was asking for Thomas the Tank Engine, the only toy train that not only talks, but has his own PBS television show.

Candice Sisk, 3, who was with her aunt, Donna Higgins of Hagerstown, said she wanted a "Dora" doll house. "Dora the Explorer," as she is commonly known to watchers of Nick Jr., is a cartoon character with brown hair, brown eyes and an adventurous spirit.

Higgins said Dora is pretty popular in the family.

"Trust me, I watch this all the time," she said.

Kelsey Robinson, 6, was another of the children who came with Higgins. Robinson said she was looking forward to getting a "Bratz" doll - or maybe more than one.

For parents wondering what a "Bratz" doll is, they are, of course, "The girls with a passion for fashion," according to the print on the box that held one such doll. They look similar to the traditional Barbie dolls, but with a turn-of-the-century edge, and interchangeable outfits.

Pamela Tomlin of St. Thomas, Pa., said that with all the new names and styles of toys, it is hard to keep up. While her 5-year-old grandson was in line with parents to see Santa, Tomlin walked over to a nearby toy store and was looking over shelves with G.I. Joe and other military-style toys.

Asked how she decided what to give her grandson, she said she gets a little help from Santa.

"I think the TV really encourages what they want," Tomlin said, but she also had printed out an online form letter that would be filled out by her grandson, then sent to the North Pole.

The letter will get a peak, though, before it's finally sent to Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

"It's kind of a little sneaky," Tomlin said, but "that's our way of finding out what they want."

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