Friday, September 18, 2020

Cookies and milk with Santa

Story time. Submitted photos

Story time. Submitted photos

By Gina Sisbarro

Cookies and Milk with Santa is Ho, Ho, Yum thanks to the City Parks and Recreation Department.

What could be more fun than hot chocolate, milk, tons of cookies and Santa and Mrs. Claus? Fun! And that is exactly what happened on December 12th from 10:00 am – 12 noon at Mackle Park thanks to the creative staff or should we say Santa’s Helpers Mindy Matusiak, Amber Prange, and Lola Dial.

When you walked into the recreation center it was as if you stepped into Santa’s own play land at the North Pole. There were two beautifully decorated stations for Santa, where youngsters turned in their wish list (provided by Santa’s

Another child on the nice list.

Another child on the nice list.

helpers) and a cozy reading area for Mrs. Claus who read stories while the youngsters sat and ate their fill. One creative station was the Yule log (on a huge television screen) and Christmas music where several children and I took delight in pretending to warm our hands and backsides!

When the little visitors entered the room they were overwhelmed. Happily, elves invited the children to sit down and fill out and color a “Wish List for Santa”. Of course mom or dad helped with the list. I’m sure they wanted to make sure ponies or baby hippos were eliminated. Next they got to sit on Santa’s lap and ask for their

Christmas creations in the making.

Christmas creations in the making.

Christmas wishes and got their photo taken. Once they were pried off Santa’s lap they had a whole room full of activities in which to partake.

They could enjoy every activity station or just kick back and load up on cookies. Most hit every station. There was snowman soup (only those that attended are entitled to the secret recipe!); there was loads of coloring and puzzle books. The pictures were suitable for framing. Lest we forget about Santa’s reindeer, there were a table to make food to scatter for Santa’s flying guides; again I will keep that recipe a secret too. They could decorate a stocking with stickers and make the perfect

 

 

gift for any member of the family by designing a mug and filling it with goodies in which to make the perfect cup of hot chocolate. Mindy Matusiak has enjoyed programming the event for the past 5 years. She said it gets bigger and bigger with each new year. True enough, approximately 200 children came through within the two hours! Every year she adds a new activity. This year it was Mrs. Claus and story time. Mindy was already thinking of new craft ideas for the following year to keep all 200 or more busy! What she and the staff enjoy
Story time.

Story time.

most is the community participation. It’s just a happy feel and Mindy and the staff enjoy the smiles on the faces and the look of excitement on the children’s faces.

Mindy would like to thank her volunteers who helped with the event; the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island, members of the Lely HS Key Club, the cheerleaders from Marco Magic and Adam and Lindsay Koszo for their great Santa photography. Mindy said the date is easy to remember for next year, it always coincides with the street parade. Mindy laughed and said we get them all pumped up for the evening festivities and that is certainly the truth of the matter, everyone leaves happy and definitely full!

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