Vishal and Roopa Nayak and their two- and four-year-old daughters had just had their picture taken with Santa Claus, by one of his elves, and the girls were doing holiday-themed crafts at the Community Recreation Center December 17.
“The girls love Santa and the crafts. They’re having fun,” said Roopa, their mom. It was the annual evening Santa photo opportunity for children–up to seven years of age–sponsored by the Santa Clara Department of Parks and Recreation. Cookies, juice boxes and the arts and crafts were all part of the evening for the 45 lucky children whose parents had pre-registered them for the event.
“You don’t have to rush it here. You can take your own time and have fun,” said Roopa.
“Not everyone can get together on a Saturday, so we offer this evening opportunity,” said Richard Casem, Teen Center Coordinator. “It’s more personal, more intimate than at a mall. You don’t have to be mobbed. There’s a small town feeling.”
“Parents can take as many photos as they want with their own phones and cameras. It saves them money. The elves will take pictures for them of the whole family. Then they can send the photos electronically. It’s a great opportunity to see the whole family,” he continued.
“You’re never too old to believe, and Santa makes everything possible–just like the city of Santa Clara,” said Casem, clearly a believer in both Santa and the City, where he was born, raised and works–the last 13 years for the Parks and Recreation Department, where he, too, participated as a kid.
“Ho, ho, ho!” said Santa, lifting another hopeful child onto his lap.