By Paula Neuman
The Clauses — Santa and his wife — took some time out of their busy schedules to visit with children at the Bacon Memorial Library in Wyandotte on Dec. 1.
The annual event is put on by the Wyandotte Historical Society, and includes Mrs. Claus reading a story to little ones; a chance for them to sit on Santa’s lap and whisper secrets in his ear; and a Secret Santa shop, where kids can spend their allowances on gifts to surprise their loved ones.
The library’s new Maker Space also was available for ornament creation, a feature many children were enjoying, and another room in the historic building was dedicated to an elaborate toy train setup.
Festive garlands and other decorations bedecked the three-story library, a Queen Anne-style house built in 1897 as a private residence and designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1987 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
But the kids weren’t there for the history or for the decorations.
They were there to see the Clauses. The parents were there to take pictures of their children with the guests of honor from the North Pole.
“We direct the families to see Mrs. Claus first,” said Historical Society member Beth Labadie, who was joined by many other adults from the group helping out at the event. They all wore cheery hats and such, as well as beaming smiles as they saw the children come in, excited to visit the jolly old elf and his wife.
Mrs. Claus (Maggie Molnar) was reading holiday stories, getting lots of hugs, and handing out candy canes.
Of course, not all little ones are comfortable with unfamiliar adults, even those as beloved as the Clauses.
Onni Hart, 20 months old, hung out in the doorway watching Mrs. Claus reading and the other children for quite some time, until his mother finally was able to convince him to come sit on her lap and join in the fun.
Owen Mulica, 3, left the room after hearing a story and getting his candy cane, and announced to his mother: “I was so brave!”
And then the kids and their parents got on the library’s elevator, run by volunteer and former city official Andrew Swiecki, to go see the main man in the red suit on the floor above.
“Dad, this is not his workshop,” said Reed Gwardinski, 3, a little concerned as he waited to see Santa (David Sauers Sr.), who was sitting in front of one the library’s 11 fireplaces.
“He’s just visiting,” dad Patrick Gwardinski said smoothly.
Reed sat on Santa’s lap tentatively to give his wish list and be in a photo for his parents. His baby brother, Griffin, 1, on the other hand, wasn’t having anything to do with it. But mom Megan Gwardinski got them all settled, and Reed was all smiles when he got his coloring book and lollipop from Santa’s elf, Kristina Sauers.
Ronin Hamilton, 6, was thrilled with the whole experience from start to finish.
“I got to see both!” he said.
His mom, Lana Hamilton, said the family had just moved back to the area, where she grew up, after living in Seattle for a while.
“This is a great event,” she said.
The Theisen siblings —Elliot, 6, Joshua, 5, and Ryan, 2 — were excited, too, jumping up and down with joyful anticipation before they got to see Santa.
Elizabeth Deburghgraeve, 2, was too shy to sit on his lap, but she was more than happy to get her lollipop and coloring book. Her baby sister, Annabelle, 7 weeks old, was along for the fun and resting peacefully in her carrier.
The expansive work tables in the library’s Makers Space were swarming with kids making ornaments.
“We always have crafts going on here, and you can drop in and do anything,” said library administrative assistant Joann Hedger. “A lot of people don’t know about it yet.”
And a happy hubub filled the Secret Santa shop on the first floor, as kids carefully considered their purchases, and Historical Society volunteers wrapped them for the children.
Stereotypically, librarians hush people making a lot noise. On this day, the joyful hullaballoo was welcome.
Learn more about the many upcoming events at Bacon Memorial Library online at baconlibrary.org.