Yes, Emiliano and Ana and Amy, there is a Santa Claus.
Two days after Thanksgiving, almost a month before Christmas, at Rock Hill’s Boyd Hill recreation center, Santa made his rounds.
Santa Claus – Rock Hill’s own Santa Dave Jordan, who has been Santa in Iraq and Afghanistan for troops, too – asked Ana Escobar, 10 years old, whose parents came from Mexico before she was born, what she wanted for Christmas.
“A ‘One Direction’ guitar – and I have been extra good this year,” said Ana.
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Emiliano Escobar, the brother at age 8, volunteered he was even “more good.” And he wanted a bike.
Amy, age 4, said she wanted a “Dora” doll.
Santa Dave Jordan put them all on his big, broad knee and told the kids: “You are better than good. You are great. Feliz Navidad. Merry Christmas.”
The kids knew that Santa was real. Emiliano even tugged the beard.
“Real,” he said.
Saturday’s holiday program was put on by four nonprofits that help area families with small children: Family Connections, Parent Smart Family Resource Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of York County, and the International Center of York County. There were tables with latkes – Jewish pancakes – to show Hanukah, and reindeer dust, and games and food and more. Each organization invited 10 kids who the groups help – but all the siblings of each kid were invited too.
The idea came from Grace and Terry Hutchinson. Terry is a member of the Rock Hill school board. The Hutchinsons were the high bidders in an auction that they turned into the “1st Annual Holiday Bash.”
“We just wanted the kids to know that so many people care about them,” Grace Hutchinson said. “So many people helped out.”
The event was staffed by volunteers from all the agencies. Some of the tiniest children were thrilled to be the center of attention Saturday. Zacarri Moffat, 6, asked Santa for an electronic tablet.
“I do good in school,” Zacarri said.
Many of the families the groups help include parents who are immigrants from Mexico and other central American countries. The fathers and mothers have come to America to work hard labor jobs and raise children, and they do it all thousands of miles from home in a country where a different language is spoken. But the language of Christmas and sharing is universal.
Maria Escobar, mother of Emiliano and Ana and Amy, said she was appreciative of the event and the visit with Santa.
“Wonderful,” she said.
Santa – Jordan – who will be at ChristmasVille starting next week for days, said all children need to know that Christmas is for each and every one of them.
Evelyn Espitia Gonzalez, 4, was so shy, but she admitted to Santa that she wanted “a Barbie with a horse.”
Santa told her that little girls who are good do get Barbies and horses.
“Because,” he said, “Santa is real.”
Evelyn saw the Santa smile was real. She heard the words “Merry Christmas” in English and Spanish. She said to her mother, “Santa is real.”