Thursday marks the sixth year that Santa’s Toy Shop will bring Christmas magic to children of all ages.
The toy shop was inspired by my memories of being a small child in Iola and all of the beauty of our small town during the holiday season — the cold winter evenings, walking around the square, looking in all of the store windows at the holiday displays, marveling at the trains, moving Santas, and all the shiny, glittery decorations.
Those memories made me wonder what memories children are making today at Christmas. Were they only going to remember what they did or did not get for Christmas? Or were they going to remember time spent with family, doing something that only happens once a year, in a place filled with all kinds of unexpected surprises?
That was my dream — to help make Christmas an evening of adventure for families. Maybe the family has plenty of toys for the children at home. Maybe the family has none. Santa’s Toy Shop is more than the toys that go into it.
I want the children of Allen County to have a memory of lining up for a parade with family by their sides. I want their memory to be of the excitement of joining hundreds of voices in caroling, as a beautifully lit horse-drawn carriage carrying Santa goes around the square. I want them to have the memory of being excited with all of the other children in line and finally getting close enough to get a peek inside the window. I want them to be sitting in a chair in their kitchens when they are old men and women, reminiscing to their grandchildren about the time they sang Jingle Bells with 500 other children.
I hope you will take the time to make this happen for your children. Santa’s Toy Shop is for every child, all they need to bring is a smile.
Lining up for the parade begins at 5:30 on Thursday at the corner of Broadway and Jefferson. The parade begins promptly at 6 p.m. The toy shop opens immediately following the parade and will be open until 9 p.m. Hope Unlimited will be serving up soup.
Toy shop hours for Dec. 22-23 are 6-8 p.m. and Christmas Eve from 5 to 7 p.m. We will also be open from 7 to 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve for parents or guardians to come back and get what they need for their families if their Christmas is short this year.
We at Humanity House wish you the merriest of Christmases.
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