November 27, 2013

Santa Claus is Comin' to Bastrop - 2013

by Angela Castillo

What would Christmas be like without the annual visit to Santa? My first encounter with the jolly old elf was in 1984, when I was five. I had my heart set on a Cabbage Patch Kids cleaning set. My parents set out with my brother and I to the brand new parking lot by the information center on Main and Beech, where the city of Bastrop had created Santa’s Village from plywood and two-by-fours.

I approached the throne dubiously. Santa looked tired in the dim streetlight, and an elf half-heartedly took my hand to help me sit in his lap. I repeated the name of the toy several times, secretly thinking the chance I’d find it under my tree on the blessed day were slim. My parents didn’t bring a camera, but the event is solidified in my mind; Santa was in Bastrop, and though the surroundings were humble, we did not have to drive all the way to a shopping mall to stand in line with other screaming children to see him.  

Times have changed! Several local businesses have created annual Santa events full and light, fun, and magical events sure to delight the most grouchy of Grinches. You are guaranteed a much more pleasant experience than any of the big city malls will offer, and when you factor in gas, a much less expensive one.
As I stepped back down to my parents that warm, December evening, a candy cane was pressed into my hand. Santa’s eyes twinkled under his bushy eyebrows and he whispered, “Merry Christmas, Angela.”

Places to See Santa

Giggle N Jump
Giggle N Jump, located at 1102 College Street in Bastrop, offers a truly interactive Santa experience. For the cost of admission, ($7 for kids 1-3 and $8 for kids 4-11), children will have time to chat with Santa, make Christmas crafts, and enjoy all the fun Giggle N Jump’s play center has to offer. Parents have the option of bringing their own camera to take pictures on all three dates or paying professional photographer Maranda Crum to work her incredible magic. Backdrops are set up around the center for photo-ops.  Dates for Giggle N Jump are as follows:
  • Pictures with Santa- Friday, Dec. 6th, 4-6pm; bring your camera.
  • Pictures with Santa- Sunday, Dec. 8th, 2-4pm; bring your camera or purchase prints from Maranda Crum Photography.
  • Cookies with Santa- Friday, Dec. 20th, 11am-1pm; bring your camera or purchase prints from Maranda Crum Photography.

Photo by Maranda Crum Photography.
The Sugar Shack
For many Bastropians, Santa at the Sugar Shack has become a tradition. The Sugar Shack, located at 114 Loop 150 W in downtown Bastrop, offers great holiday gifts for Mom and Dad to peruse while kids have fun with holiday activities. Plus, there is no better and more direct mailbox to Santa than the one in front of the Sugar Shack! Children can drop off letters there any time.
  • Cookie Decorating with Santa- Saturday, Dec. 7th, Presale tickets are $6.99; tickets purchased on the day of the event are $7.99. Spaces are limited.
  • Pictures with Santa- Dec. 17th-21st from 6:30-8:00pm or until all kids have seen Santa. Professional photos for $9.99. (The Sugar Shack recommends you come Tuesday or Wednesday to beat the crowd.)

JR Krcmer, Farmers Insurance Agency
Farmers Insurance will be offering free pictures with Santa at their office, located at 1007 Main Street in downtown Bastrop. They will send you your pictures via email free of charge!
  • Tuesday, Dec. 3rd, 5:30-7:30pm
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4th, 5:30-7:30pm

All About You Portraits
All About You Portraits is offering quick 15 minute studio sessions with the jolly old man himself on Saturday, Nov. 30th in Smithville. Plus, there's NO LINES!
  • Saturday, Nov. 30th

River Valley Christian Fellowship
River Valley Christian Fellowship will be presenting "A Classic Christmas" at the Bastrop Convention Center, including free pictures with Santa taken by the lovely and talented RidgeDog Design & Photography before each service.
  • Sunday, Dec. 22nd, 5pm and 7pm

Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa
Don’t miss the chance to enjoy breakfast with Santa at the Hyatt Lost Pines on Saturday, Nov. 30th from 9am-12pm. In addition to indulging in a wonderful breakfast spread, all guests will join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a special meet-and-greet as well as photographs. Before and after visits with jolly ole St. Nick, all will enjoy holiday-themed activities and arts and crafts, a jump house and more – including a holiday sing-a-long with the K.R. Wood Camp Cookie Duo. The cost is $29 for adults, $15 for ages 6-12 and complimentary for ages 5 and under. This event is open to guests as well as the public; reservations are required. For reservations, call (512) 308-4860.
  • Saturday, Nov. 30th, 9am-12pm

Festival of Lights
Santa will be making an appearance at Smithville's Festival of Lights. He'll be waiting on the porch of the Railroad Museum, ready to smile and pose with the kiddos.
  • Saturday, Dec. 7th, 10am-5pm

Let your pet smile for the camera while spreading joy to animals in need this season by bringing your pet to any Petco for Photos with Santa, and bring home a 4x6" photo in a keepsake frame. Proceeds from your $8.95 donation will help support pets in need.
  • Saturday, Dec. 7th, 1-4pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 14th, 1-4pm

Fun Santa Facts

  • The legend of ‘Sinter Klaas’ was first brought to the United States by Dutch immigrants in the 17th century. They also brought the tradition of gift-giving, which was quickly adopted by enterprising shopkeepers nationwide.
  • Washington Irving, writer of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, was the first American to describe Santa as ‘riding over the trees in a wagon’ and ‘sliding down a chimney.’
  • ‘Donner’ and ‘Blitzen’ were originally called ‘Donder’ and ‘Blitzem.’ In a house somewhere, a grandma is shouting, “I knew it!”
  • The original “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter was written by the editor of the New York Sun in 1897.
  • The character of Rudolph was created by Robert L. May, a copyeditor for Montgomery Ward, in 1939. Ten years later, a song about Rudolph was written by Johnny Macks. Next to “White Christmas,” “Rudolph” is the most popular song ever written.
  • Santa is based on a real person, St. Nicolaus, who was born in 270 AD in Turkey and, legend tells, was in the habit of leaving gifts in the shoes of good children. He was canonized and became the patron Saint for children everywhere.

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