Young and old divulge secret desires

Posted: Sunday, December 04, 2005


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  Patti Fuehrer of Soldotna considers an intricately carved decorative decoy from the Cooper Landing- based business Winging It at the arts and crafts fair. Photo by Joseph Robertia

Two-year-old Cheyenne Juliussen tells Santa what she wants for Christmas during the Christmas Comes to Kenai event Nov. 25 at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. She was hoping for a Barbie doll.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

A wiggly line of Kenai Peninsula residents recently formed outside the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. Parents tried their best to keep their little ones calm and warm in the frigid weather, but all it took was one glimpse of the man in the red suit, and all havoc broke loose.

As the man climbed down from a Kenai fire truck and walked into the center, the line straightened up.

It was Santa — one of the most popular people in the world this time of year. Santa arrived for the annual Christmas Comes to Kenai celebration to get an early start on hearing the hopes and wishes of tykes on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Standing outside before Santa’s arrival, Savanna Jgovig, 3, stood in a puffy blue coat holding her mother’s hand. Ready to sit on Santa’s lap, she quietly said she was going to ask for Winnie the Pooh things, especially anything having to do with Roo, her nickname.

Ericka Jgovig, 2, in a pink coat matching her sister’s, said all she wanted was a purple teddy bear.

Jumping vigorously from the season’s excitement and the cold, Malcolm Yerkes, 4, said he was hoping for a Power Ranger under the tree.

“The black one,” he said, adding he also wants a dinosaur with a remote control.


Aaron Chase of Cohoe is hoping the jar of apple butter he bought from the Specialty Garden and Forest Products booth at the arts and crafts fair at Kenai Central High School will be the perfect gift for a special family member.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

While groups passed through the center following the blue taped arrows to Santa, one of his helpers, dressed in the holiday red and green ensemble, decided to share her holiday wish.

Taren Kuntz, 13, said she hopes for a portable DVD player of her own.

“My brother has one and he doesn’t share,” she said.

As the group moved, those in line seemed even more excited to tell the famous bearded man what they want under the tree Christmas morning. The kids were eager to spout off their wishes.

Ashleigh Neal, 5, said she would be happy with anything, as long as it was My Little Pony. Her sister, Gretchen, 4, said she wants a bride Barbie to keep the other four Barbies at home company.

“She’s wanted one all year,” said her mother, Sara Neal. She stood next to her girls holding her nearly asleep 8-month-old infant. When asked what she wanted, it did not take long for a response.

“Two weeks on a beach. That’s all I want,” Neal said with a laugh.

Mariah McDonald, 11, did not hold back when asked what she wants. Since she enjoys making cookies and bread, a mixer would be a great help.

“Either a pink Kitchen Aid mixer or a sewing machine,” she said.

Her sister, Jessianna McDonald, 6, said her wish is for a special vehicle for herself.


Ruby Dyer of Soldotna points to a necklace for sale from the Custom Nugget Jewelry booth at the arts and crafts fair she would like to add to her collection this holiday season.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

“I want a Dora (the Explorer) car that is purple and I can ride in,” she said.

Elizabeth McDonald, mother of both girls, smiled when she heard the wishes of her daughters, then said she would like to take a vacation to California to visit her best friend.

With bright blue eyes wide, 4-year-old Jake Anderson had no problem listing his wants.

“I want a mini Robo Rapture a put-together lizard, a gold-armored dragon, a iron-armored dragon and a Cybertron Transformer named Hot Shot,” he said.

While little ones were lifted on and off of Santa’s lap, laughter and excitement filled the room. While it seemed that the event was purely for the children, parents seem to find joy in the happiness of the annual event.

Danny Rice, with three little ones in tow, said he would be happy to get a vacation, money and a lot more time.

His daughter, Hevyn Rice, 5, said she wants a princess crown with pink and orange jewels on it.

Tiernan Rice, 3, said she wants a toy mouse, and Soren Rice, 2, seemed so taken with his father’s cell phone that he said he wants one for himself.

As Binget and Stefan Nilsson waited in line, their 6-year-old son, Kjell, explained he wants Santa to bring him a ship that airplanes land on.

Three-year-old Bjorn was excited as he rattled off that a race car truck and a remote-controlled car are on his list. His sister, Annika, 1, was more excited about telling the crowd how old she was, but Kjell said he thought she would like a doll.

Binget said she could use a heavy-duty saute pan with a lid; Stefan said a four-wheeler would be great, though he said he doesn’t count on getting one this year.

“It is a classic,” he said with a smile and a glimmer in his eye.

Those enjoying the holiday season at various stores also had great expectations of what they need Christmas morning.


Patti Fuehrer of Soldotna considers an intricately carved decorative decoy from the Cooper Landing- based business Winging It at the arts and crafts fair.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

Pauline Dukowitz said she wants gift certificates for Christmas.

“So I can get what I want,” she said.

Anne Knapton, who drove from Homer in bad weather conditions to shop at the craft fair at Kenai Central High School, said her wish list is small.

“I want new pot holders,” she said, explaining the ones she owns are used and dirty. “It is time for new ones.”

Debbie Clonan, a vendor at one of the many booths, said she made a Christmas wish during Thanksgiving dinner for herself and her family.

“Next year, we will have Christmas in Hawaii,” she said.

Brothers Evan and Ean Atchley helped out at a family booth and had no trouble naming what they would like.

For Evan, 11, “FiFa Soccer 2006” is the hot PC game for his computer.

Ean, 6, said he wants Lego sets, as he stuffed popcorn in his mouth.

Shopping for gifts to give others helps some think of what they want.

Michelle Steik stood in a long line after shopping at Gottschalks, giving her mother gift ideas.

“I want a crockpot,” she said, adding the machine would help with dinner since she enjoys visiting the gym after work, which leaves little time for a healthy meal.

Her mother, Vicki Steik, filed the idea mentally and looked back to tell her daughter her Christmas wish.

“I want the ‘Northern Exposure’ DVD pack,” she said.

She said she is a big fan of the show, which follows the lives of inhabitants in a small quirky fictitious Alaska town.

“They just remind me of all my neighbors,” she said.

Madeleine Wilcox, 10, said she wants Santa to add to her growing Beanie Baby collection. She said she has more than 50 of the stuffed toys and does not have a preference for which ones end up under her tree.

“I don’t really care as long as get them,” she said.

Her brother, Paul Wilcox, said he wishes for the XBox game “Battlefront 2” and lots of Star Wars games.

Their mother, Adeena Wilcox, had no wishes for the holiday.

“I have everything I want,” she said with a smile.

Asking for special gifts

While gadgets and presents are common hopes of many for the holiday, some look to the season to bring gifts that money cannot buy.

While the families waited to see Santa in the frigid weather, Lersy Heinrich was on hand to pass out steaming cups of hot chocolate and cookies. His wish for the season is one shared by many.


Nikiski residents JoLynee Suave and Sue Neugebauer consider purchasing a pair of muk-luks from the Clam Gulch-based business Howling Wolf Furs which had a booth at the annual arts and craft fair at Kenai Central High School last weekend.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

“Safety for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said.

Gene Roofe said his wish for the holiday is for his brother’s wife to get better this season after having a stroke.

He said her health is his wish for Christmas while she recovers in a Colorado hospital.

Julie Boll shares the hope for good health this year. She and her family will visit her ailing mother in Delaware this holiday season.

“I wish my mom’s health would improve this Christmas,” she said, adding her mother is suffering from dementia.

Tammy Olson said her wish is that her grandson, due to be born Christmas Eve, comes early and is healthy.

“I would like the baby born before Christmas,” she said.

Olson said her daughter’s husband is in Saudi Arabia with the Air Force, so she is the birthing coach and wants to spend the holiday with the newborn — not waiting for him.

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