Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
The Christmas tree is up and ready for people to select children’s names and bring a smile to their faces for the Christmas holiday.
The Mayor’s Christmas Tree is up at Portales City Hall with approximately 200 names of children in Roosevelt County. People can begin taking names off of the Christmas tree to purchase gifts for children who otherwise may not receive a gift this year.
The Portales Art Club students from Portales High School decorated the trees with many Santa Claus dolls on Monday. Southwest Canners donated soda cans to the art club and the members made Santa Claus ornaments with white beards and red hats.
Veda Urioste, one of the organizers of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree gift-giving, said each scroll on the tree has the child’s name on it with the child’s clothing size. Urioste said people are requested to purchase an article of clothing and a toy if possible.
Lou Sikes, a Portales art teacher and director of the art club, said she has rode the bus during the deliveries to the children. She said she was Santa’s helper once and she remembered going to a tiny house where a barefoot child was in her sun dress during winter and greeted Santa Claus.
“She saw Santa and grabbed him around the knees and wrapped her legs around his ankles,” Sikes said with a smile. “He yelled, ‘Ho, ho, ho,’ while she screamed with delight.”
Urioste and Sikes said they’ve been to houses where people don’t have any furniture, no Christmas tree and very little belongings.
Urioste said teachers from Roosevelt County schools pick the students who appear as if they are in need of such items. Those names are place on the tree and any person can pick out a name, buy the gifts and bring them back by Dec. 2. According to Urioste, the gifts are sorted and calls are made to the people in the household where the presents are going to be delivered.
Urioste said the presents will be delivered by seven Santa Clauses on Dec. 12 after 4:30 p.m. and calls are made to make sure there are people in the houses when the deliveries are being made.
The good cause is why there were approximately 15 members from the Portales High School art club at city hall placing the ornaments on the Mayor’s Christmas Tree.
“We had a blast doing it,” Ana Quinones, a Portales High School senior, said. “It’s all about giving to people. The whole thing about Christmas that I enjoy is picking out presents for people. I pick out something they haven’t had. I put a lot of thought into my gifts.”
Kasie Cranford, a Portales High School senior, said they worked on the art projects during school, lunch hour, after school and a couple of Saturdays.
“We put quiet a lot of time into it (art project),” Cranford said. “I would encourage them (community members) to participate in this. It gives community members a chance to help each other.”
Students said they enjoyed creating the Santa Claus ornaments and the project brought them closer together.
“I think it’s great,” Shelby Ellis, a Portales freshman, said about working on the project. “It brought the students together for a great cause. It was fun to work on it.”
The Lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree will take place at 5:30 p.m. today at the Roosevelt County Courthouse lawn. Santa Claus will be arriving at 6:15 p.m. Students from Steiner, Lindsey, Portales Junior High and Portales High School will be singing along with the Girl Scouts.
Urioste said the Portales Women’s Club is providing cookies and refreshments for the Lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree. Urioste said people can pick out scrolls during the lighting.