Many bring their requests to Santa's ear

December 19, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

All I want for Christmas is... world peace?

Santa and his elves may have to expand and diversify their workshops to meet the requests of visitors at the Hagerstown City Farmers Market.

The jolly man in red and his elf, Jingles, took time out of their busy holiday schedule Saturday morning to visit the market. They arrived around 8:30 a.m. and began spreading Christmas cheer and taking an array of gift requests from people young and old.

Debbie Stottlemyer, 49, of Boonsboro, approached Santa with what arguably was the tallest order of the morning.

"I want peace on earth and no more war," Stottlemyer said. "Work on that."

Stottlemyer's mother, Carole Carter-Grove, 66, of Hagerstown, initially aimed high, asking for a million dollars, then decided to give Santa a break.


"I'll take anything you wanna give me," Carter-Grove said.

Grace Nigh, 2, of Greencastle, Pa., went to Santa dressed in a pink turtleneck shirt and a pink jacket, holding a pink balloon dog sculpture given to her by Jingles. Nigh's Christmas gift request came as no great surprise.

"I want balls," she said quietly. "Pink balls."

Ella Hawkins, 7, of Boonsboro, inquired about possibly getting some pottery clay so she could make gifts for her family.

Ella's grandmother, Chris Hawkins, also of Boonsboro, is the branch manager of the Boonsboro Library. She decided to put in a request while she had the chance - more money to build a new library.

"We need money for the coffers," Chris Hawkins said.

Jacob Stavrianos, 4, of Rockville, Md., tempered the demands on Santa with a simpler request.

"I told him I want good things," Stavrianos said, with balloon-sculpted reindeer antlers darting from his little head. "Trains and CDs. Reggae and John Denver."

Santa's visitors were treated to Christmas cake and green punch, as well as a free instant picture taken with Mr. Claus.

Susie Salvagni, events coordinator for the City of Hagerstown and city liaison to the Farmers Market, said the market's nearly 45 vendors always are willing to contribute to community activities.

Carolyn Litten of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., operator of three vending booths at the market, donated the cake and punch.

"I like giving to the market," Litten said. "I think it's a big investment for vendors to promote the market. It helps us and also gives back to the community."

Debbie Washington, a vendor who owns and operates Pretty Settings, genially served the refreshments.

"It'll cost you a thousand smiles, but that's it!" she told Santa's visitors.

Washington offered cake to Santa, who declined, saying he had to save room for cookies during his Christmas Eve travels.

Washington, too, tended to her wish list.

"You better be sure I get my sewing machine," she told Santa Claus.

Washington said she thought it was a great idea to have Santa come to the market.

"You're having a good time whenever you have Santa," she said.

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