When Melia Gordon brought her son Nevin to see Santa last year, it took the 2-year-old a little time to warm up to the man in red. Being a tentative toddler, Nevin slowly crept toward Santa until the the two were close enough to share a hug.
“We went to PJ’s barbecue, and Santa was sitting there,” Gordon said. “He eventually walked over and gave him a giant hug. It was a great moment.”
Nevin has not forgotten the encounter, and now whenever he runs into Santa he strikes up a conversation.
“It completely changed his Santa experience,” Gordon said.
The memorable story paired with a candid photo of the pair won Nevin the editor’s choice award in The Gazette’s Christmas With Santa photo contest.
This year, 22 readers submitted Santa photos online between Nov. 23 and Dec. 10 at www.dailygazette.com/santa. A panel of Gazette editors chose one winner, and the public chose another by voting for their favorite photo. Both winners receive a $100 gift certificate.
The Daily Gazette prints the winning photos.
Jessica Halter is the popular vote winner with a photo of her pajama-clad son Chase sitting with Santa. A friend took the photo of the 2-year-old earlier this month.
After a good response from her family, Halter entered the contest on a whim.
“I thought it would be fun,” she said.
Unlike other kids who are hesitant posing for a photo with Old Saint Nick, Chase sat with a big grin, sporting a portrait of Santa on his candy cane striped onesie.
Halter was surprised by how much he liked Santa. She says it probably just took some time for Chase to become comfortable.
“This is the first year he likes Santa,” she said.
The Christmas With Santa photo contest is presented by Fidelis Care.