By Tony Parra
Roosevelt County residents, Eastern New Mexico University students and staff took the time to bring an early Christmas to children on Thursday.
They all participated in the Hanging of the Greens on Thursday evening in the Campus Union Lobby on the campus of ENMU. There were more than 40 children and teenagers from the Christian Children’s Home for the event, which concluded with Santa Claus giving out presents to the children. Adults took the time to capture the moment by taking photographs of the children with their present on Santa Claus’s lap. They sat on his lap no matter what size or age they were.
“It’s a great event for both the children and the ENMU students,” Cindy Nicholson said. “What we do with the pictures is put together a scrap book for each child. We keep track of them from when they were little until when they graduate from high school.”
Shannon Fresquez of the Associated Students Activities Board department said the event was organized and prepared three weeks before the event. Fresquez, who helped put together the Hanging of the Greens, said ASAB received a list of the children from the Christian Children’s Home and put out flyers in search of sponsors for each children.
She said each sponsor purchased a gift for a child which was picked out for them.
“It was very beneficial to the university and a rewarding experience for us,” Fresquez said. “I think it’s really special to see the smiles on their faces. It was a great family atmosphere.”
The children began the night by decorating cookies. Shortly after the cookie decorating, the children peered at a distance when they heard whispers of Santa Claus’ arrival. Their smiles became wider when they heard the jingling of Santa’s bells and the laughter from the familiar jolly man in the red suit with a red bag over his shoulder.
Santa Claus entered the lobby with Mrs. Claus and a couple of elves. He sat down on a chair in front of the Christmas tree while the children gathered around him and sat in awe of him. Mrs. Santa Claus told the children stories before Santa Claus began giving out gifts. The children giggled each time they heard Santa’s laughter.
George Pavalok, a foster parent, said the event binds the community and makes it stronger. He said it also helps in their encouragement of attending college after they graduate high school. He said some of the teenagers were unable to attend the Hanging of the Greens because they were in a basketball tournament in Clayton.
“It’s nice to see the students sacrifice themselves for the kids,” Rick Daniell, a foster parent, said. “I think it’s fun for them. When they heard Santa was coming, they got excited. They don’t really get a chance to go to a shopping mall and sit on Santa’s lap. This was something really good for the kids.”