Children share wish lists with Santa Claus at Lunch with Santa at the Depot

November 19, 2018

Santa shouldn’t have any trouble remembering Shanya Brown’s Christmas list.

He’ll just have to think of one word: Barbie.

“Everything about Barbie,” her grandmother, Brenda Brown, said and laughed. “That’s everything she wants for Christmas.”

Specifically, Shanya wants a Barbie camper.

“That’s it,” her grandmother said.

Shanya, 6, is one of hundreds of children who shared their Christmas lists Sunday with Santa Claus at Lunch with Santa at the Depot at Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum.

And Santa Claus was one popular big guy. Boys and girls, with their moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, wound out the door and around the corner of the center for a chance to let Santa hear exactly what they hope to find under the tree on Dec. 25.

McKenzie Lebednic wants an L.O.L. Surprise! toy. Her brother, Victor, want a puppy dog; and brother, Hunter, wants a pig - a real pig.

“We live in the city, and he wants a real, live pig,” his mom Courtney said. “They are excited. We’re looking forward to Christmas and just getting ready for the holidays.”

Gibson Hughes, 5, and his mom, Meredith Hughes, drove over from North Augusta to Aiken to visit with Santa.

“I saw on Facebook that Santa Claus was going to be here,” Meredith Hughes said. “We love trains. We love the depot, and we love Santa. It was a perfect match and a perfect way to kick off the season. We’re just looking forward to being together as a family for Christmas.”

Gibson wants a science kit and a smasher for Christmas.

Santa, of course, knows what a smasher is - he knows everything - but in case you don’t, “You smash ’em, and there’s a surprise figure inside,” Gibson said.

In addition to sharing their Christmas lists with Santa, the children had their pictures made with him at a photo booth and took them home. They made crafts, worked on a holiday puzzle book, colored and wrote letters to Santa.

Upstairs, the Train Museum was open for the children to learn why trains are “such a special part of Aiken,” said Lisa Glass, the marketing and special events coordinator for the Aiken Standard, which sponsored Lunch with Santa at the Depot.

“We wanted to have a great event for the community, and there’s no charge,” Glass said. The kids have had a great time. They’re all in their Christmas best. We’re thrilled. It’s a great way to get the Christmas season off and going.”

Chick-fil-A sponsored a lunch of chicken nuggets and cookies, and Santa Cow made a special appearance in a Santa hat and elf booties. Tiffany Pediatrics sponsored the photo booth.

Other sponsors partnering with the Aiken Standard were Aiken School of Cosmetology and Barbering, Emerson, ASCO, Aiken Gymnastics, Meybohm Real Estate, Club Thrive Senior Activity Center and Outback Steakhouse.

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