Santa and helpers have busy Saturday |

Santa and helpers have busy Saturday

Rex Bovee

Santa’s elves could be spotted all over Carson City on Saturday – if you knew what to look for.

Forget the pointy ears and curly-toed shoes.

These elves could be recognized by the big grins on their faces as they took deserving children from store to store on gift-shopping sprees, then watched the kids wrap everything amid piles of bows and ribbons.

Members of the Rotary Club of Carson City spent most of the day with 30 children nominated through Friends in Service Helping. This was the 18th year the club has held its Christmas Shopping Spree, Rotarian Al Christianson said.

“When we started out, the kids each got about $5 or $7, but this year they each had $20 to spend however they wanted,” Christianson said. “And Kmart and Wal-Mart helped out by giving the kids discounts on the purchases.”

Sharry Seeley, 10, of Dayton furrowed her brow as she put the finishing touches on the ribbon for a gift she had wrapped for her sister. She said she had plenty of time to find the perfect item. (No, we’re not telling.)

After spending most of the morning shopping at stores around town, the children were treated to lunch and then returned to the Carson High School cafeteria, where they were turned loose on mounds of wrapping paper, bows, tags and ribbon to finish the job.

Some had time for a detour to the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, where David Piel was decked out in Victorian garb to read “A Christmas Carol” and Miss Tiny was helping with holiday crafts.

While the youngsters could spend the funds on anything, the purchases were mostly for family members and friends. And some showed they knew how to stretch their resources.

“I bought gifts for all three of my sisters,” Sandra Lloyd, who goes to Dayton Intermediate School, said. “This is the second year I got to shop like this.”

The annual shopping spree gives kids a chance to shop on their own who otherwise might not have, said one Rotarian. The kids get to take some initiative on their own, see that lots of adults in the community are concerned about them outside of their families, and helps them develop some self-confidence.

The funds come from Rotarian projects such as its rose sale and silent auction (with some additional support from members’ wallets and purses during the course of the day, it is rumored).

After the gift wrapping was done, Santa made a visit to the cafeteria to hear some holiday wishes. And the shoppers were serenaded by ventriloquist Monte Fast and Dennis, his balsa-headed buddy.

Santa, busy on his pre-holiday rounds in Carson City, also made the trip to the Children’s Museum.

With school adjourned for the holiday, the museum has added extra hours and programs. It will be open Mondays, when it is usually closed, until school resumes.

Until Thursday, Miss Tiny will be running the arts and crafts activities daily.

Friday, which is Christmas Eve, the museum will be open from 10 a.m. to noon, when children will be admitted free without needing parents accompanying them. That will give them the chance to buy gifts at the museum gift shop and the staffers will help wrap the presents.

Admission to the museum will be free Dec. 26-29, sponsored by the Countdown to the Millennium Committee for Carson City.

And the Carson City Nugget is sponsoring free admission on Dec. 30, when a mailbox-shaped time capsule – filled with children’s questions about what life will be like in the future – will be sealed at 4 p.m. The time capsule is to be opened in 2025.