OAKHURST – In the midst of what is surely his busiest time of year, Santa Claus took the time to stop by Sierra Tel for a day, to personally check in with local kids and find out what they want for Christmas.
The jolly, red-suited fellow’s annual visit to Sierra Tel is a tradition Santa maintains every year, no matter how bad the weather, because the children in the foothills are just so very good.
Landing in Oakhurst on Tuesday, Dec. 16, Santa got to visit with about 100 kids, including the Phillips twins, pictured.
This is the twins’ second-ever visit to Santa at Sierra Tel. Their original due date was December 26, 2013, say their mom and dad Tonya and Eric, but the twins were born early at 34 weeks. Just a year ago, they were Santa’s last visitors, on their first outing, when Sierra Tel closed the doors so the family could have private time with the big guy.
They are shown as pictured last year, at just one month old, and again on their triumphant return to see Santa this year, at more than a year old. The Phillips girls are mono mono twins, which means they shared the same amniotic sac. In addition to being precious and adorable, their sort of twin is pretty rare.
Sierra Tel’s Rima Runtzel jauntily puts on her elf hat when Santa’s in town, and she helps him by writing down each child’s requests so Santa can refer to them when he returns to his workshop at the North Pole. The festive Drosche family of kids was among the many who stopped by on their yearly visit to Santa from Social Vocational Services nearby.
“This opportunity to visit with Santa is generally much less crowded and chaotic than many others, which makes it ideal for infants and those with special needs,” says elf Rima. “As the mother of an autistic son, that’s what makes this particular event special to me.”
Also on Tuesday, in the early evening, Sierra Tel connected 70 calls to the North Pole for children to speak with Santa, who was able to keep track of requests despite having at least two kids on most calls.
Did Santa’s helper Rima notice any particular trend in what children want for Christmas this year?
“It seemed like the most popular requests were Star Wars and Ninja Turtle themed Legos and all types of Frozen themed items.”
Heads up parents, you know kids won’t let it go.
Thanks from the community to Sierra Tel for hosting again. Santa, have a safe journey around the world and we’ll see you next year.