Recently I chatted with the people from Wanblee about the Christmas party scheduled for December 18th in the Kennedy Hall. The kids are getting excited about Christmas even though in years past most didn’t receive very much and in some cases nothing, something we hope to change, at least in Wanblee. In addition to the party they are planning a Christmas parade around town with Santa as the main feature of the parade. But there’s one very important thing that’s missing, the Santa Claus suit! What’s Christmas for kids without a visit from Santa Claus?
Well when I discussed this dilemma with our Sew For Kids group, Janet volunteered to make the suit and her sister-in-law Ruth donated the money needed for the project. We talked about buying a suit, but to get one of good quality would cost more than anyone could afford so since this is a sewing group we’re putting our skills to work and making the suit. The cost will be around $60 for a washable Santa suit made from quality fabric which is the same amount the stores were asking for one made very cheaply from craft felt.
By chance I happened to run into Santa Claus the other day while visiting the Festival of Trees, a non profit fundraiser where local people/businesses decorate Christmas trees with the proceeds from the event supporting children’s projects in our community. Santa said he had arrived early this season to take requests from the many children waiting in line and also to attend a Christmas breakfast with them. After the line subsided I made my way up to talk to him, I didn’t have much of a Christmas list but did want his opinion on the kind of Santa suit to buy. Mrs. Claus just happened to be sitting beside him and said that she made his outfit and used fleece. His hair and beard were real, something we’re going to have to buy since Santa Claus will be played by a Native American. She also made her own green dress which next to Santa and surrounded by Christmas greenery made for a nice looking couple.
I learned all the secrets of how to make the suit complete with laundering instructions and that Santa can wear either the traditional suit or the “Coca Cola” Santa look. I asked Mrs Claus what Mr. Claus used for his jolly figure and she said that unfortunately no stuffing was needed for his belly, it was the real thing! She chuckled as she said it saying that she made her own dress loose fitting with an expandable belt so she could still wear it in case she gained any weight over the holiday season.
While Santa is very important to the season we all know that his job can’t be done properly without the help of his many elves working tirelessly to bring holiday cheer to all the children. The Sew For Kids “elves” are busily working in their little corners of the US coming from Texas, Washington state, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Vermont, New Mexico, California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Kansas, Idaho, Virginia, etc. Together they’ve sewn and knitted/crocheted hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters, booties, blankets, slippers and other warm items and toys as well as purchased goodies to fill a gift bag for the children. I personally want to thank each and every one of them for helping to make this day a special event for everyone in Wanblee. So a big thanks to the Pine Ridge Babies group,the Half Knits charity group, the Loves Many Cloths group, the Sew For Kids crew and to anyone else who has sent gifts to the Rez . And thanks to the Worldwide Hunger Relief organization and many of you, we are hoping that this year there will be enough food for everyone who attends the party.
We can still use your help to complete filling the gift bags , just one pair of mittens or one book can provide a gift for a child, it may be the only one they receive. Sew For Kids along with the above mentioned groups are trying our best to make sure each child receives something this Christmas in Wanblee. Many members of these groups are retired and living on fixed incomes, unemployed or underemployed or have families with young children to support, yet they all feel the need to help the children of Pine Ridge as much as they can.
Once the Santa suit is finished and the bags are stuffed we’ll post pictures. The next couple of blogs will be featuring some last minute gifts to make, until then this elf is going back to the workshop to do some sewing!
Please send your Christmas gifts to the High Horses here. Thanks from SFK for all your help!