By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — If there’s one thing we know Santa likes — other than kids and elves, of course — it’s cookies.
On Saturday, The Big Guy had the chance to enjoy some homemade treats with the kids in the community during Sweets with Santa at the RCS Community Library.
“The board, with cooperation from the staff, usually holds an annual Santa event to kick off the season and bring some joy to our little ones,” said library board of trustees president Laurie Dickerson. “We also mix it in with some easy STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities as well.”
There were several stations set up so kids could participate in simple STEM activities and experiments, as well as a station where they could write letters to Santa Claus and put them in a mailbox. The letters will be delivered to the North Pole before Santa’s big night.
“There’s science, and writing letters to Santa, and a simple math station — we tried to gear it towards that idea,” Dickerson said. “And, of course, The Big Guy visited and the kids could have a chat with him.”
The board made cookies and the library’s fiber arts group made house slippers for the children to take home. There was also a table filled with books so each child could take one home to keep.
“For everything that we do at the library we try to encourage literacy, so writing the letters helps kids practice,” said Library Director Lisa Neuman. “People don’t write a lot of letters these days, so it is good practice for the kids. One of our board members is a science teacher by trade, so she always has some kind of science experiment. We also have activities that build fine motor skills.”
After the activities, it was time for Santa Claus’ visit. He arrived with a mighty ho-ho-ho and as the kids gathered around, he read a book to them and everyone sang Christmas songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.”
The library has been holding Sweets with Santa for about 10 years, former board president Marie Sturges said.
Sturges and fellow former board president the Rev. Antonio Booth staffed the letter-writing station with Santa’s mailbox.
Booth said Sweets with Santa was initially inspired by the library’s board of trustees and gives people in the community the chance to get together and celebrate the holiday.
“This builds unity and encourages people to get to know each other,” Booth said. “It also lets them know what a fine library they have and the services that are here because usually when they come, all the kids just want to go into the play area. It also lets the adults see what we have here at the library. It shows they have a service they can be proud of.”
“The library is a great community resource for people of all ages — it’s not just for kids,” Sturge said, adding that there are weekly movie showings, book clubs, and groups that get together to discuss everything from health to social issues.
“There’s something here for everyone,” Sturges said. “This is just a gem in this community.”