Children are usually the ones to leave milk and cookies for Santa, but at Proctors on Saturday morning local kids and families enjoyed the traditional holiday treats before seeing Jolly Old Saint Nick.
The third annual Milk and Cookies With Santa took place at the Schenectady theater and was sponsored by The Gazette and Fidelis Care.
Attendees were randomly selected in a drawing from the hundreds who entered with a form found in the Gazette earlier this month.
Ahmari Tanner, 5, of Schenectady was particularly excited when his grandmother told him they had been chosen to share milk and cookies and see Santa Claus this weekend.
“Mari was with me when I found out we had been chosen to come today, and he said, ‘We’re going to have milk and cookies! And are going to see Santa!’ ” Irma Foster recalled of telling her grandson the good Christmas news. “He was so ecstatic.”
Ahmari and twin brother Adonis were busy doing a craft decorating a Christmas tree when Santa and Mrs. Claus entered the room.
“I’m making a beautiful tree!” Adonis cried, holding the craft up high before taking a bite of a chocolate chip cookie and sip of milk.
The cookies were donated by Freihofer’s Bakery and the milk was from Stewart’s.
Children also enjoyed getting their picture taken with Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph and, of course, with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
“This is a great way for us to meet other families during the holiday season,” Estelle Tanner, the boys’ mother, said. “They’re having a wonderful time, and we’d love to come back again.”
Each child was given a special form to write a letter to Santa.
“We have plenty of forms that we would love for you to use to write a letter to Santa,” CJ Dufort, the Gazette’s events coordinator, said to Saturday’s crowd. “All letters will be mailed express to the North Pole and will appear in the Daily Gazette on Tuesday.”
Natalia Baldwin, 8, of Schenectady wrote a unique letter to Saint Nick.
“I want a surprise for Christmas,” she said, holding up her letter. “I don’t want to know until Christmas Day.”
Dale and Gina Erno, of Colonie were happy to bring their 4-year-old daughter Angelina to do crafts, share cookies and see Santa.
“I asked Santa for an Aurora doll, a Tatianna doll and a talking Elsa doll that sings,” Angelina said of her favorite Disney princesses with a smile.
The line got long, but every child got a chance to see Santa Claus before he returned to the North Pole.
“It’s been three years and the kids have loved it every year,” Dufort said. “It has become a local tradition.”