Santa Claus hands out toys to Natchez girls and boys

Published 4:34 pm Monday, December 24, 2007

NATCHEZ — With hooded-heads and hands buried deep in pockets children and their parents braved the cold on the front steps of the Braden building on Monday morning, the kids had only one thing on their minds­— toys.

The children and their parents were waiting on the high-point of the Santa Claus parade, the toy give away.

Then little by little, the children began to file into the building’s auditorium eventually filling almost every seat.

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It must have been torturous for all the children to sit, just staring at the stage filled with presents, waiting on Santa to show up.

But finally he did.

Pulling up with a tinseled convertible and an SUV blaring crackling Christmas carols from a P.A. system strapped to the roof rack, Santa was finally ready to hand out the goods.

And the kids were definitely ready to receive.

When Santa took the stage the children erupted with cheers.

It was a scene that would melt the heart of any hardened scrooge.

One-by-one the children walked across the stage to receive an enormous bag of presents.

Some stopped to thank Santa, some stopped to give him a hug and some, mostly the very young, seemed petrified by his red suit and larger than life persona.

Cynecia Hill, 10, was thrilled with her sack of Christmas loot.

“This is my favorite,” she said, pointing to a do-it-yourself jewelry kit.

However the joy of the jewelry kit was short lived when she found the make-up kit buried at the bottom of the bag.

“I needed some make-up,” she said.

Brian O’Neal, 10, literally struggled to carry out his bag of presents.

“There is a lot of stuff in there,” he said. “I hope I got a bat.”

And while the kids looked wide-eyed into their bags of toys the events sponsors, in turn, looked wide-eyed at the children.

The Santa Claus Committee has sponsored the Santa Claus parade and the toy give-away since 1928.

The committee is comprised of local businessmen who contribute and raise funding to buy toys for the event.

Frank Rowe has been a committee member for six years.

“This is something we all enjoy very much,” he said. “When you look in the faces of the kids when the get that bag, then you can see why it’s important.”