Santa surprises Jemison story timers

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Little attendees to Jemison Public Library’s Story Hour on Dec. 13 received a welcome surprise visit from Santa Claus at the close of the group’s Christmas party.

The tiny tots, decked in holiday apparel, were just sitting down to snack on Christmas treats when librarian Tammie McGriff declared, “Look who it is!” as the jolly giver stepped into the room.

“Santa!” the name rang out. “I love you, Santa,” several children said as they ran to him and embraced him.

Several sat on his lap by a Christmas tree, chatting with the man in red before leaving with a candy cane.

One shy, little boy lingered near Santa, mustering the courage to “talk business” about a “bow and Aaron” his mother mentioned he wanted for Christmas.

McGriff said she was hoping Santa would be able to stop by. The Christmas party was already packed with festive activities, but a visit from Santa Claus would be the cherry on top.

And so it was.

Festivities kicked off with some Christmas crafts, as children placed stickers on Christmas tree cutouts and transformed their fingerprints into Christmas characters, such as reindeer and choo-choo trains.

Following craft time, special guest Margie Ward read two Christmas books to the children: “Hurry, Santa!” by Julie Sykes was the first, and “God’s Christmas Gift” by Nelle Navillus was the second.

“What did the reindeer get Santa?” she asked at one point in the first story.

“Love?” one child asked.

“Marshmallows?” asked another.

“Bath soap?” another suggested.

It was a Christmas clock, intended to ensure Santa would not lose track of time again.

The second book relayed “what Christmas is all about,” Ward said — to which the children declared, “Baby Jesus!”

McGriff said Ward had taught kindergarten at Jemison Elementary School at the same time that she had, their classrooms stationed across from each other.

Ward has since retired.

“I miss it, but I still love it,” she said. “And I do things like this … and do a lot of work in my church with children, really involved in Sunday school and different programs.”

Ward also has eight grandchildren, who she said keep her busy.

She said she had already decided to attend Story Hour, when McGriff asked her to read.

“I had already planned on coming, not knowing it was going to be the Christmas party,” she said, “but it fit in just fine, because I had my books and everything.”

Upon introducing herself, Ward told the children that God gave her a special love for children and told them that it was fine if they needed to “wiggle” around a little.

“I certainly understand those that move around and wiggle,” she said later. “It doesn’t bother me, and sometimes it kind of makes me sad that parents expect them to have perfect behavior. Because they can’t. They just can’t.”

The fun festivities concluded with the visit from the North Pole native, and each child was allowed a party favor children’s craft before leaving.

Jemison Public Library offers Story Hour each Wednesday, from 10 to 11 a.m.