Santa Summons Generous Hearts

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Children in Laguna Beach can deliver their wish list in person as Santa Claus occupies a tiny decorated house downtown on Forest Avenue from 1 to 3 p.m. daily until Dec. 24.

Ken Schreiber assumes a new identity for Hospitality Night. See him or someone with a similar mien afternoons at the Santa House on Forest Avenue. Photo by Mitch Ridder.
Ken Schreiber assumes a new identity for Hospitality Night. See him or someone with a similar mien afternoons at the Santa House on Forest Avenue. Photo by Mitch Ridder.

Ken Schreiber took up the duty on Hospitality Night, bending his ear to whispered requests for hours with nary a bathroom break.

He is among a five Santas who hear the entreaties of little ones, explained organizer Sande St. John, who expressed a dram of frustration over “high maintenance Santas.” “They really believe, really think they are Santa,” she said.

Santa stays on the job longer if small-fry are present, St. John promised. Those seeking a longer audience with the jolly elf (or possessing an especially long wish-list) should take advantage of the slow period preceding Christmas week. “It’s usually pretty quiet for the first two weeks,” said St. John, an Exchange Club member who takes advantage of Santa’s locale to recruit the town’s real elves.

She and local resident Marsha Bode 30 years ago started suggesting to locals they assist a family in filling their Christmas stockings.

Local Chris Loidolt is the longest individual adopt-a-family supporter and involved workers of a former employer, St. John said. Tight Assets boutique owner Heidi Miller joined in and wrangles assistance for another 10 families and involves her nephew, a CHP officer, who takes up gift delivery, St. John said.

Residents interested in adopting a family should contact St. John, who will provide a personalized wish list of gifts, including coat and shoe sizes. “We arrange for families and them to meet and give out the gifts at the Santa house with Santa,” she said.

Meet her at the Santa House or call 949 633-9429 to assist a family in need.

Low-income families are also invited for free shopping at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Woman’s Club, which will be stocked with donated goods, St. John said.

 

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