By Donald Wittkowski
Listen up, kids. When it comes to having some one-on-one time with Santa, you better watch out, you better not cry and you better not pout.
We’re telling you why. When Santa Claus comes to town, he’s usually very busy making a list and checking it twice to find out who’s been naughty or nice. So, it’s best to be very nice when you let him know what you want for Christmas.
With that in mind, the girls and boys who were at the annual Brunch with Santa event Sunday at the VFW Post 1963 in Sea Isle City didn’t hesitate in plopping down on his lap and politely telling him what they hope they’ll find under their Christmas trees.
“I want a dollhouse and a pair of goggles,” 4-year-old Chloe Cramer, of Wildwood Crest, said in a soft voice.
Goggles? Chloe explained that they would be for swimming.
Chloe and the other children who were at the brunch were each given gifts. Eager to know what she got from Santa, Chloe immediately tore off the wrapping paper and discovered a Barbie doll set.
When asked whether she liked the doll set, Chloe replied with a big “Yeah!”
All of the other kids seemed happy, too. In addition to the gifts and the visit from Santa, they enjoyed a buffet-style brunch, singing and face-painting. VFW Post 1963 holds the holiday brunch every year as a way of giving back to the community.
“We’ve been doing it for at least 10 years,” said Chick Haines, the post commander. “It’s what we do for the community. We take care of the kids, and we take care of the veterans.”
Around noon, Haines made the big announcement that Santa had arrived from the North Pole.
“Is everyone ready for Santa?” Haines asked the children.
Santa suddenly appeared in the doorway and greeted the kids and their families with a hearty “Merry Christmas!” Several children immediately rushed up to him and were given hugs.
Aydan Shaw, 7, Jordan Figueroa, 5, and Anthony Henderson, 3, who were accompanied by their great-grandmothers, Nancy Little and Jane Poulliot, of Ocean View, began singing “Jingle Bells” after Santa made his grand entrance.
Aydan said he wanted a Big Wheel bike and Legos for Christmas. Jordan said he was wishing for a little motorcycle and a Santa toy. Anthony simply said “toys” when asked what he wanted.
Aubrey McCatty, a 6-year-old from Dennis Township, had her face painted while she waited for Santa to arrive. She was eager to let him know what was on her Christmas list.
“I want a Teddy bear, lipstick and a sled,” Aubrey said.
Antonella DiAntonio, 9, and her 6-year-old sister, Arianna, were dressed up in Christmas costumes. Antonella wore some reindeer antlers and a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer shirt, while Arianna was attired in a little Santa outfit.
Antonella said she would ask Santa for a Hula Hoop and a miniature skateboard. Arianna’s wish list included a Hula Hoop and a jump rope.
The girls’ parents, Angela and Anthony DiAntonio, of Sea Isle City, smiled when they heard their daughters excitedly describe what they wanted for Christmas. The DiAntonio family attends the Brunch with Santa event every year.
“We love it,” Angela DiAntonio said. “We’re right down the street and all of our neighbors are here. The kids love seeing Santa. And it’s always a delicious breakfast.”