Published 3:31 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

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By Megan Sullivan

My favorite tradition started decades before I was born.

In 1946, the Palmer Engine and Hose Company in my hometown of Kinderhook, New York started a Santa Claus club.

Every Christmas Eve, the firefighters would dress up as Santa and bring a present to all the children age 10 and under living in the village. I remember every year coming home from the children’s Christmas Eve Mass and then parking myself in front of the window with my brother, waiting for Santa to arrive.

Besides a present, Santa also always brought a box of the old fashioned hard Christmas candy (though, honestly, I’m not sure if it was called old fashioned in the 80s?).

Santa visits Megan Sullivan during the 1980s. (Contributed)

Even though I now live in North Carolina, we still try to go home to New York for Christmas and my daughter is now a part of this tradition as well. She had her first visit two years ago, although this time Santa came in a firetruck instead of the massive brown station wagon I remember from my childhood. (As a quick runner-up: my other favorite tradition is getting to have birthday cake every Christmas to celebrate my brother who was born on Christmas day).