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Fern McConnell, 4, of La Grande receives official confirmation as to which of the “naughty or nice” columns she falls in (“nice,” of course) while visiting with Santa at Max Square Saturday. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Jolly old St. Nick was spotted in downtown La Grande over the weekend.
Sporting his traditional red and white garb and jingle bells, he strolled up and down Adams Avenue greeting patrons doing holiday shopping and going to movies.
Santa Claus had made an appearance Friday night at the Latter-day Saints church, where he said he was mobbed by children. But, he said, the kids are “wholeheartedly” his favorite part of pre-Christmas appearances.
Without giving too many details, St. Nick said everything at the North Pole is ready for the Christmas Eve trip around the world. All of his reindeer are resting up for the big flight.
“The reindeer are all fed and fat and sassy and ready to go,” St. Nick said. “I don’t bring them to town when I do this sort of thing because they need to rest.”
Santa said he is ready for the milk and cookies, too.
“Chocolate chip is my favorite. They shouldn’t make any other kind,” he joked.
Perhaps most importantly, St. Nick said the naughty or nice list has been checked twice.
“I watch that list pretty good,” Santa said.
The good news is that Union County children were pretty good this year, he said. St. Nick said one girl at the LDS church Friday night asked for coal because she knew she hadn’t been good this year.
“I said, ‘Even coal can be turned into diamonds.’ She thought that was pretty neat,” he said, adding that all children have the potential to be good.
Santa said he would have a busy Christmas Eve. It goes by very quickly for him, he said, but he’s ready for the annual trip in his sleigh.
“Everyone always asks how it’s done,” St. Nick said. “The only real answer to that is the magic of Christmas.”