Children sat for photos with Santa Claus and asked him for presents at the Cookies with Santa event held at the NorthPark Community Church on Sunday afternoon.
Children’s ministry director Kristin Sullivan organized the event, now in its third year. People from across Santa Clarita were invited to take free photos with Santa, make crafts like beaded candy canes or write letters to family members in the military, eat cookies and listen to the story of Jesus’ birth.
This year, the event also featured a toy drive to benefit Help the Children, which Sullivan plans to continue at future events.
“This event is really neat because we get people from all over the community here and everyone really seems to be having a good time,” Sullivan said. “Something that’s really special for me is that we have about 20 teenagers who have volunteered to help us.”
Lead teaching pastor Robert Cavin read a story to the children about Jesus’ birth. He said that though many people complain about the commercialization of the holiday largely due to the figure of Santa, the religious origins and the modern holiday spirit are not mutually exclusive.
“This is a very casual event where people can just come in, have a good time and maybe learn about the true origins of Christmas and it’s our gift to the community,” Cavin said. “The important thing is to make sure that we focus on Jesus and the spiritual mystery of Christmas. As long as you have that, you can still celebrate all the fun things like Santa and packages and the trees.”
Craig Aird, who is not a member of the church, saw an online post about the event and thought it would be a fun way to spend time with his family.
“It’s not Christmas without Santa,” he said. “The kids really wanted to see Santa, sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. We didn’t even know this church was here so I think it’s also a great opportunity for us to get out and see more of the community.”