Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 26, 2012

Santa comes to town

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Santa Claus finally came to town Sunday as the traditional Old Fashioned Christmas welcomed hundreds of local families to the start of the Yuletide season.    Presented by the Effingham Central Business Group, the Old Fashioned Christmas welcomed the appearance of Santa at the Santa House on the courthouse square. The event also featured activities, taking place at the former Fifth Third Bank Building that will be the new Helen Matthes Library.

    “It’s just a fun day to start the holidays,” said Norma Lansing, president of the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce. “It’s just something to get people into the Christmas spirit. I just think it’s something that lots of people really enjoy.”

    The opportunity to bring kids to meet Santa and to take part in the free activities brought many new families out to the event.

    “My sisters always go out with their kids,” said Michele Hoene, standing by the sugar cookie decorating station. “We thought we’d tag along this year and the weather was cooperative.”

    Activities at the Old Fashioned Christmas included the arrival of Santa on a traditional Caledonia fire truck, horse and buggy rides, planting a winter garden, take and go Christmas photos, a Christmas sing-along and Christmas story time. Complimentary hot chocolate and coffee was also available and raffle tickets for the Spectacular Santa Sweep were for sale, with proceeds going toward improvements for the Santa House.

     Lansing said the event is a way to show visitors what Effingham has to offer and give back to the community in a fun way.

    “The businesses are the ones that keep this going,” she said. “The businesses donate all of this and they come together and make it happen. It’s very nice.”

    Lansing said the greatest pleasure she derives from the event comes from watching as families come back every year, making the Old Fashioned Christmas part of their annual Yuletide traditions.

    “It’s just seeing the little kids coming back every year,” she said. “You get to see them growing up. Every one is always so excited.”

    It’s those children who will be continuing the tradition into next year.

    “Yeah, we’ll come back,” said Jayden Macklin, 9, of Effingham.

    “I like the horse rides,” said his sister, Ellie, 6. “We’re going to ride the horses again.”

    Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.