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Santa House ready for visitors

Santa House
Volunteer Project Manager John Cole coordinated dozens of helpers in a variety of trades in order to ensure the Santa House would be ready in time for the 2017 Christmas season. Santa begins receiving guests as his house on December 6. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
by Katie Arvia

LANSING, Ill. (December 6, 2017) – Since 1962 the Santa House has been an annual tradition for many Lansing residents, including Mayor Patty Eidam. “When I moved here in June of 1979,” she said, “I was a single mom with two kids that were 8 and 9 at the time. Our very first Christmas, we went to the Santa House.”

Those memories and that sense of tradition led Eidam to make the Santa House part of her campaign platform in 2016, and she has made it a priority since taking office in April. “We began to plan and realize that this might be something that we could do in the very first year. To bring some smiles back, to bring back an old tradition.”

Santa House
Santa’s first permanent home was built in 1975 in the parking lot of what was then Village Hall. (Photo provided)
Lansing’s original Santa House was a portable wood structure, but Santa was given a permanent home in 1975 in the parking lot of the former Village Hall (3403 Lake Street). The house remained there until 2013 when Visible Music College leased the building and ADA regulations required changes to the parking lot. For two years, the Santa House had a temporary home in a Ridge Road store front.

Santa House
The new Santa House is near the Fox Pointe development. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Now a permanent Santa House has been built near the Fox Pointe development. The 18×16’ structure will be accessible via sidewalks and bike paths. Because of its proximity to Fox Pointe, there will also be plenty of parking and restrooms available to visitors.

Donations of time, expertise, and money helped keep costs low. “It’s been a really, really interesting and exciting mix of volunteerism, generosity, and old-fashioned work,” said Ken Reynolds, Director of Communications for the Village.

Santa House
John Cole became the project manager for construction of the Santa House. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
John Cole was the first to offer his services, and he became the default volunteer project manager. “John was unbelievably dedicated to [the house] and the driving force on a daily basis,” said Reynolds.

The Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce organizes the events surrounding Santa’s officially arrival in Lansing. This year he arrived via firetruck on Saturday, December 2, for the annual tree lighting at Clock Tower Plaza. Following the tree lighting, Santa headed to the American Legion, where he visited with children from 6:00–9:00pm.

Beginning on December 6, Santa takes up residence in his new Santa House, and he will receive visitors on regularly scheduled days and times throughout December.

Santa’s Santa House schedule

Santa Claus will make regular appearances at the Santa House throughout December. His 2017 schedule includes:
• Wednesdays (December 6, 13, 20): 6:00–8:00pm
• Fridays (December 8, 15, 22): 6:00–8:00pm
• Saturdays (December 9, 16, 23): 1:00–3:00pm
For more information about Santa House protocol, call 708-895-7208.

The Santa House is accessible only via Henry Street. Because of the proximity to the Fox Pointe construction, lighting and unfinished landscaping are a safety concern, so traffic from the west (Roy Street) will not be permitted.

Throughout Santa season parking will be available at Visible Music College as well as on the streets. Volunteers will be on-site to direct people. Reynolds recommends that families bring their cameras and wish lists whenever they visit Santa. Goody bags donated by the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce will be given to children after their visit.

Katie Arvia
Katie Arvia
Katie is a lifelong Lansing native who currently works full-time in marketing while also freelance reporting for The Lansing Journal. In 2015, she graduated with high honors from Saint Xavier University in Chicago with a BA in English, and she plans to pursue a Master's degree in the near future. Her favorite Lansing Journal assignments include coverage of TF South High School's walkout ("Demonstrating the possibilities") and her St. Patrick's Day interview with her grandma ("St. Patrick's Day traditions: reflections of an Irish granddaughter").