WEST ALEXANDRIA — Every year, the West Alexandria Celebration Committee welcomes Santa with Christmas in the Village.
This year, the group began their celebration on Saturday, Dec. 7, with the annual Christmas Craft Bazaar, which raises money for Santa Villa. Then, on Sunday, Dec. 8 they welcomed Santa to his Villa with Christmas in the Village.
The Christmas celebration began on Saturday with the annual Christmas Craft Bazaar. There many vendors were present to sell their wares. Another way they raise money for Santa Villa during the bazaar is through their Christmas tree tag prizes, where people can purchase tags affiliated with numerous prizes.
According to West Alexandria Celebration Committee Secretary-Treasurer Michelle Laughlin, all money raised through the Christmas tree tags goes back to purchasing toys and other items for Santa’s Villa.
They also gave away a Christmas tree during the Craft Bazaar.
“We’ve been supported very well this year, through the different organizations in town,” President Carol Lunsford said.
Laughlin thanked all sponsors, businesses, and organizations for their donations.
She said, “We couldn’t do it without all of the community support.”
On Sunday, during Christmas in the Village, residents were encouraged to pick up punch cards at the West Alexandria Branch Library, visit all businesses listed, and receive an entry for a chance to win. Residents with lighted vehicles were invited to join in the Christmas parade, which welcomed Santa to the Village of West Alexandria.
Santa ended his parade at Santa Villa, where he greeted the children. In addition to meeting Santa, each child received their choice of a toy, stuffed animal, book, cookie, candy cane, and a pair of gloves or hat – all for free. Families were encouraged to bring their cameras and take family photos with Santa.
Door prize drawings were held later in the night, inside the Town Hall.
“It’s a very exciting time for us, as the committee, to watch the delight on the children’s faces. The parents are grateful for something extra for their children. It makes me turn into a little child,” Lunsford said. “We want to offer something for the children of the village to enjoy this season.”
Laughlin added, last year they served 350 children at Santa Villa for free.
“It is open to the public — we welcome people from any community, not just West Alexandria,” she said. “I think it is important that we offer this to all economic backgrounds, so there is not that stigma.”
Lunsford said, “We love watching the children come in and visit with Santa. My favorite thing is, when they’re getting ready to leave, I get to give them a cookie.”
Laughlin explained, for many families Santa’s Villa is a tradition.
Santa will be back in his villa on Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 15, from 5-7 p.m. All children are welcome to visit with Santa, regardless of residency or economic status.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH