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Appreciating the ‘real’ Santa

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Joelle and Ceagan Freeland visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at last year's Children’s Party.[/caption]

All children know that Santa has many helpers. For many Rolla-area children, there is only one “real” Santa and Mrs. Claus—Bob and Dorette Fitez.

For nearly 10 years, Bob and Dorette have been the stars of the annual Children’s Christmas Party at Rolla Presbyterian Manor. All of the children of staff members are invited to the event, where they each receive a gift from Santa.  

Marketing Director Joelle Freeland first hired the Fitezes to play the jolly old elf and his wife. She knew them from church and thought they bore more than a passing resemblance to the traditional pictures of Santa.

They are so real-looking that several of the children, even older ones, will only come see him and declare he is the real Santa,” Joelle said. “One year I had a mother ask me to have Santa talk to their son about being nicer to his little sister. This only made Bob Fitez as Santa more believable.”

Another time, Joelle herself asked “Santa Claus” to talk to her granddaughter Ceagan about talking less in school. “So when all the children were sitting on the floor and Santa was visiting with them as a group, Santa said, ‘There was a little girl who was having trouble with talking too much in school,’ and another child yelled out, ‘That’s Ceagan!’”  

The Children’s Party makes all of us feel like kids again. It is without a doubt one of the big highlights of the holidays at Presbyterian Manor for the residents, staff, and the children.   

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