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Mokena sparks holiday season spirit at library event

Addie DeSalvo? Check. Dean DeSalvo? Check. Alden Lowrance? Check. Jonah Lowrance? Check.

These are some of the names on Santa’s list of children to watch out for, ringing in the spirit of the season Sunday, Dec. 16, during the Mokena Community Public Library’s annual Ho, Ho, Ho—Here Comes Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“They really look forward to coming out and enjoying themselves,” said Pat Hoornaert, the children’s librarian for Mokena Community Public Library.

From holiday crafts and live reindeer, to visits and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the library prides itself on continuing to hold the event year after year.

“It’s been a tradition of the library, and it’s just a lot of fun,” Hoornaert said.

This year, a number of families packed the library to carry out their holiday festivities.

“[The holiday season] was a big thing in my family when I was a kid,” said Juliet Smith, of Mokena. “It’s been hard working full time. My husband and I try to do the best we can to make it a special time of year.”

This year marked the first time that Juliet and her 3-year-old and 6-month-old children, Josselyn and June, decided to drop in for the library event.

“We come to story time on Fridays at the library, and my friend told me about [Ho, Ho, Ho—Here Comes Santa and Mrs. Claus,]” Juliet said.

Juliet said the library event serves as just one part of her and her family’s way of getting into the spirit of the season.

“We’ll watch Christmas movies, make Christmas cookies, build gingerbread houses, and drive around to look at the houses with the Christmas lights,” she said. “The kids enjoy it.”

Chicago’s Janice Lowrance was checking out the live reindeer alongside her 6-year-old and 4-year-old children, Alden and Jonah.

“Their grandparents, aunt and uncle, they all live in Mokena,” Janice said of why they decided to come out for the event.

Janice’s children had already sent Santa their Christmas lists. Alden wants a Pokemon costume and Jonah wants a motorcar capable of transforming into a robot.

Janice said the library’s event does a wonderful job of getting people into the spirit of the season.

“I think it was nice,” she said. “The library had a scavenger hunt. They had reindeer. They made it really nice for the kids.”

Hoornaert said the first families arrived around noon.

“We had some down here just waiting because Santa comes at 1 o’clock, so they’re anxious to be first in line,” she said.

Taylor Marti, also of Mokena, was waiting in line alongside her 5-year-old son Weston for a visit and photo opportunity with Santa and Mrs. Claus. She said they were motivated to come out to the library.

“We really get into [the spirit of the holiday season,]” Taylor said. “We put the lights up. [Weston] helps me put the lights on the tree, and, of course, Santa. “

Taylor said the library does a wonderful job bringing the spirit of the season to Mokena.

“[Weston] loved the scavenger hunt, and we’ll be back next year,” she said.

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