Archive for Sunday, December 13, 2009

Santa hears wish lists from youngsters at Douglas County bank

Five-month-old Langdon Smart, Lawrence, smiles for a photo on Santa's lap at Douglas County Bank on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009.

Five-month-old Langdon Smart, Lawrence, smiles for a photo on Santa's lap at Douglas County Bank on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009.

December 13, 2009


Barbies, Hot Wheels and Transformers were all on the wish list for the tykes who sat on Santa’s lap Saturday morning.

But Santa also heard some unexpected requests. Such as a suitcase or the gift on the mind of Brady Gutierres, 4, who wanted 100 boxes of juice for Christmas.

“Enough to fill up the whole house,” he said.

By his brother Tyler Gutierres’ estimate, it would be a supply that would last him about “1,000 weeks.”

Brady, Tyler and their older brother Bryant were among those who stopped by Douglas County Bank, 3101 Iowa, to pay Santa a visit.

Tyler, 5, had a more traditional request of Transformers. Bryant, 9, wanted Pokemon, the ever-practical gift of socks and new black shoes to wear with them.

Just before the Gutierres brothers, Santa heard the list of Livy Gowing and her 2-year-old sister Juliet.

Livy had outgrown her bike and wanted a new one. She asked for a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads to go with them “to keep you safe in case you fall off,” the 5-year-old said.

For Livy’s mom Allison Gowing, the low-key event at the bank — which offered cookies, apple cider and candy canes — seemed like less of a hassle than other Santa hot spots.

Santa’s visit to the bank is an annual affair. But last year was the first time the bank hosted his appearance at the South Iowa branch and on a Saturday morning. It was a success with more than 70 children attending, branch manager Wendi Morris said.

Santa was played by Cliff Wallace, 76, who worked with the bank for 16 years. He came into his role as Santa after his wife found a good deal on a red suit while shopping in Kansas City. It was a natural fit for someone who always loved children.

“What is so heart warming is the total innocence of the kids. They share so many different things with you and open up so much. It’s just so beautiful. You love them all,” Wallace said.

For Lisa Kreie, visiting Santa was more than just passing on a wish list. It was about continuing a family tradition. She remembers taking her daughter, Tara Hill, to a local bank to visit Santa. On Saturday, it was Hill’s daughter who was sitting on Santa’s lap. Three-month-old Kailen was decked for the occasion in a red-velvet dress with an embroidered white chiffon skirt.

“That’s part of the fun of Christmas, seeing them all dressed up and so cute,” Kreie said.

While Kailen isn’t old enough for her own Christmas wish list, Hill said she will probably be getting lots of toys and the always-needed diapers.


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