Santa Claus’ reindeer must have been exhausted after bringing a special bit of early Christmas to Big Valley on Sunday, Dec. 14, for the bag of gifts he brought out for the local area children was hefty indeed.
The annual Big Valley Christmas party has been run for roughly two decades, and this year was organized by Yvette Cassidy, Catrina Dubitz, Brenda Woods and Jill Brodersen.
The group receives donations from local companies, oil industry, non-profits and municipal councils to fund the party, which has parents register children ahead of the day as well as a wish list of items.
“Santa starts in August,” Cassidy said as she managed the snack table. “Once the kids register, Santa does his best to find the perfect toy.”
The children sat around Santa, eagerly waiting for their name to be called. They went up to visit with the man in red, before he handed off a wrapped present with their name on it.
Inside, the child would find a quality toy, whether it was a doll, stuffed animal, car or whatever the little boy or girl had wished so hard for.
Before being sent on their way, each child also received a bag of candy, funded by the local Elks chapter.
“We average around 100-120 kids yearly,” Cassidy noted, adding that the smallest number they had was in the high double-digits.
While several of the children in attendance lived in Big Valley or the surrounding area, some were grandchildren of residents of the village who had come especially to spend Christmas with Santa and Grandma and Grandpa.
Cassidy noted that events like the Christmas party are a good way to ensure everyone has a smile at Christmas, because the gifts are high-quality due to the generosity of the local and business communities.
Cookies and juice were handed out generously to the children and accompanying parents and grandparents, and adults had a chance to reminisce about their turns at Santa’s knee while watching their own enjoy the experience.