The Yuletide season is giving children across the nation the sights, smells and sounds of Santa Claus.
As Christmas is around the corner, children are getting excited about the goodies that come with the festive season. Yes, Goodies such as new cloth, shoes, and accessories are captivating for children. But, much more is their preparation to sight the legendary Santa Claus also known as "father Christmas."
And with the closure of schools across the country for holidays last Friday, children now frequent malls and venues where they can sit on the laps of the Santa Claus with smiles.
But unlike those days when Santa Claus will leave his grotto with a number of gifts and visits the homes of good children to give them all sorts of gifts like toys, candy and so on during the late evening of Christmas eve, the children nowadays have to find their way to see the Santa Claus with money in their hands. It is now a profit making business for those who run the shows.
But, the money notwithstanding, Santa Claus visit has become a spellbinding activity for children during Christmas season in Nigeria.
A Six-day Santa Claus event has been a part of this year's Christmas programme in the city of Lagos. Specially organised by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), over 800 children were given the opportunity to see, touch and collect nice gifts from Santa Claus at the NTA Chi Children's Christmas Party. A fun party where children eat, drank and most especially relaxed in the presence of a Santa Claus. Sabura Oseni, an 8-year-old pupil of Divine Foundation Nursery and primary School shared her experience with the Santa Claus: "I have never seen Santa Claus before, but now I can tell my friends in the school that did not attend this party that I have seen Santa Claus for the first time."
She said, "The Santa Claus held my hand, robbed my heads and after that, he gave me lots of gifts like chivita, Ben 10 toy and a small teddy bear."
Speaking about the joy of seeing her daughter in the hands of a Santa Claus, Mrs. Hasana Oseni, the mother of Sabura said, "It is my joy to see that my only child is happy and bringing her here has given me that joy."
The gifts that thousands of exciting young stars receive from Santa Claus every Christmas continues to make the children to look forward to a Yuletide season every year.
The Santa Claus at the NTA-Chi children's Christmas party, which was sponsored by Chi Limited gave out a range of gift items to the children who participated from various schools in Lagos. Such gifts include a lot of Chi product like Chivita drinks, Caprisonne, Hollandia custard, Bella corsage and Nella table water, in addition to toys like spiderman, teddy bears boney, Cinderella toys and so many other attractive toys which in turn put smiles on the faces of the children who received the gifts.
Brought to see Santa Claus by his teacher, Chukwuma Paul, a 6-year- old pupil of Adrawo Nursery and Primary School said, "I am happy to see Santa Claus today and am also happy that Santa Claus gave me a present to take home."
Peter Chukwuma who attends the same school as his brother said, "It was nice to see Santa Claus. I asked him for a teddy bear, and he gave it to me". Mrs. Chidinma Chukwuma, the mother to Paul and Peter Chukwuma in an interview with THISDAY said: "It is a wonderful experience to see that my children and other children are happy just at a mere sighting of Santa Claus. It is the joy of every of mother to see that her children are happy and I am proud that I am able to fulfill my motherly role."
The little grotto (a small cave) described as Santa hunt also provided a magical touch for the children. The Santa grotto was built with wooden material and decorated with green, red and white clothes and disco light while the chair where Santa Claus and children sat was decorated with red and white clothes.
All these material put together to build Santa's grotto readily caught the attention and the admiration of the children and instigated them to go closer to see and touch the Santa Claus. Entering the grotto of Santa Claus, all what Joan Okenwa, a 7- year-old pupil of Command Children School was able to say was "Wow! This place is beautiful". She added: "I don't feel like going home anymore, I feel like staying here with Santa Claus and eating all the delicious meal he can give to me and drinking all the coke and chivita he will give to me". Mrs. Emefene, a teacher to Joan Okenwa said that "being a good teacher does not mean teaching the pupil only all about academic, but also, exposing them to extra-curricular activities in order to build them academically and socially."
Santa's costume has also been somewhat of a magical touch to the children. Santa who is a joyous, white bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white cuffed red trousers and black leather belts and boots has been attention grabber amongst the children over the years with his "ho...ho....ho.....ho" laughter.
Patience Ene who is a pupil of Air Force Nursery and Primary School said: Santa Claus outfits attract my attention to an extent that I feel like borrowing his clothes cap, shoes and belts from him or asking him to give it out to me for free."
Apart from the Santa Claus, there were other persons on animated wears like Bonny, Mr. Clown, Pinky, Chicken, Sponch bob and Ben 10 which was also in appearance to make the day of the children fun, worthwhile and memorable for them.
Exciting games like the bouncing castle, running train and so many other games to keep the children active were also on hand.