PAINT LICK – A bit of green grass peaked through the white snow that covered the ground Saturday morning in Paint Lick. However slight the snowfall, there was enough for Santa Claus to glide into this historic village that straddles the Madison-Garrard county line.

Children packed into the Paint Lick Fire Department for a chance to sit on the jolly fat man’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

Santa sat in a rocking chair next to a white Christmas tree adorned with white yarn angels with golden wings.

“What’s your name?” Santa asked each child, followed by, “Have you been good?"

Then the children got to tell what they wanted.

After several requests for video game boxes, a 4-year-old boy named Mason asked for a puppy dog.

“That will be easy,” Santa said. “My elves won’t have to make a puppy dog.”

After their lap time with the man in the red suit trimmed with white fur, the children got their choice of an apple or an orange. Then it was on to a table attended by some of Santa’s helpers, who gave each child a bag of age-appropriate toys and a note from Martina Ambrosio, one of Santa’s chief helpers, reminding them about the spirit of Christmas.

“This has been a hard year for all of us,” Ambrosio said, before the children sat on Santa’s knee. “Reach out to someone less fortunate and the elderly during the Christmas season.”

The fruit and toys distributed to the children all were donated, she said.

When her mother was a child, apples and oranges were all she and her five siblings received at Christmas, said Colleen Moore, who brought her grandchildren to see Santa.

“That may not seem like much,” she said, “but they were thrilled to get that.”

Her mother’s family also strung popcorn to decorate their tree, Moore said.

Also before the children’s session with Santa, the Rev. Joe Tuttle of the Mt. Tabor Baptist Church read the Christmas story from the gospels of Luke and Matthew.

“Are you glad that Christmas is almost here?” Tuttle asked the children, who replied with a loud yes.

“We all look forward to Santa Claus bringing us gifts, but the real reason for Christmas is the birth of Jesus,” he said. “Christmas lets us know that God loves us, and that we matter to Him.”

Santa Claus was played by Sam Kirby, a Paint Lick volunteer firefighter, who also is a member of the Richmond Fire Department.

Firefighters do not go down chimneys, but they know a thing or two about getting on roof tops, Kirby said after his time with the children.

Both before and after their visit with Santa, the children were treated to cookies and hot chocolate at the Friends of Paint Lick building, where they also got to make some Christmas crafts.

The building functions as a community center. It houses a library and clothing bank, as well as classrooms were GED classes are taught, said Linda Caldwell.

On Saturday, Christmas stockings were hung on the walls, and stuffed animals lined the shelves.

The Friends of Paint Lick were selling tickets for drawings to win a chainsaw donated by a Richmond hardware store and crafts donated by a Berea gallery. Proceeds from the drawing help support the organization activities throughout the year.



Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

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