Long before Santa arrived at Shortreed Community Elementary School in Aldergrove on Wednesday, Dec. 8, the hallways were filled with the smell of pancakes and sausages.
Before students arrived, teachers and volunteers had been cooking at several different locations throughout the school at 27330 28th Ave., including hallways and the teachers’ lounge, to avoid overloading the school electrical system.
There were even gluten-free flapjacks.
Teachers and volunteers dressed up as elves with flashing Christmas lights, and many students wore their holiday best.
Before the pandemic, the annual event would have seen all the kids and their families gather in the gymnasium to have breakfast with Santa.
Then COVID-19 hit, and everything changed, principal Chris Wejr recalled.
It was a little different last year,” Wejr told the Langley Advance Times.
“Santa had less time with the kids.”
This year, the kids lined up, one classroom at a time, to get their plates filled at buffet-style tables in the gymnasium, then took their plates back to their classrooms to have breakfast.
Then, students walked into the school outdoor atrium for a sit-down COVID-safe encounter with Santa, who was wearing a protective, transparent face shield.
The jolly old elf chatted with the kids at a distance, explaining how he has a magical key that allows him to get into homes when everyone is sleeping, then posed for a group picture.
“We’re doing it outside this year again, to make sure that Santa can be around the kids and not have to worry about all the different protocols of being inside,” Wejr remarked.
“We want to spread that joy in a safe place.”
We want to thank all the volunteers who help make Christmas a special time for our kids. Students at Shortreed Community Elementary continued their tradition of the Santa Breakfast yesterday, with the help of volunteers and community donations.#SD35DaysofGiving #MySD35Community pic.twitter.com/WbJdlwuIcn
— Langley Schools (@LangleySchools) December 9, 2021
School youth care worker Lindsay Romas was one the elves.
“It’s just a a super jolly time,” Romas remarked.
“It really makes it feel like Christmas. We have a number of retired staff who come in and volunteer their time,” Romas added.
“They keep coming back each year. Doing it for the kids, to see that magic on their face, makes it all worth it”
About four hundred students, along with staff and volunteers took part.
READ ALSO: Shortreed students rebuild fairy garden
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