Post & Mail file photo/Becky Hand â€” Peighton Bender, daughter of Mark and Stacy Bender of Columbia City, gets a candy cane from Santa after telling him her Christmas wishes last year.
Maybe you havenâ€™t been as good a boy or girl as you should have been this year. But how can you get back into Santaâ€™s good graces?
Santa is in trouble. His little house is in need of repair and his local elves are dwindling.
Santa is looking for a few good men ... er, big boys and girls to help him keep the little ones coming to ask for their heartâ€™s desire this Christmas.
The Santa house has been an institution at the courthouse for at least 60 years, according to Mrs. Santa Claus, aka Jill Winebrenner.
â€śWe canâ€™t let this not be there,â€ť she said, and is soliciting donations and good old-fashioned elbow grease from locals to keep this age-old tradition going.
The interior of the Santa House has been reworked but the exterior needs paint and some new boards.
And Santaâ€™s reindeer would like to visit again this year, but it needs fuel to fly here all the way from the North Pole, and magic carrots donâ€™t come cheap.
Steve Hostetler, president of the Downtown Columbia City Business Association, says the organization is taking the reins for Santa, so to speak, helping out with the funding if donations donâ€™t cover all expenses.
â€śWeâ€™re going all out for the Christmas season,â€ť Hostetler said. They hope to add sleigh rides for the children-in-waiting at the Santa House with their parents, and Santa himself will arrive the day after Thanksgiving on his official sleigh â€” the non-flying one for the cross-country trips.
The whole downtown will turn back the clock for the season, decorating in an old-fashioned Christmas style, complete with window dressings. The public can vote for their favorite window display with prizes to be awarded to the best.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Santa House effort and keep that lump of coal out of their stocking may make checks out to the Whitley County Santa House and send them to: Jill Winebrenner, 1261 S. 300 E., Columbia City, IN 46725 or send directly to: Crossroads Bank, ATTN.: Deb Roy, 526 W. Connexion Way, Columbia City, IN 46725.