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Santa delivers Christmas cheer to local post office

WEST CHAZY Santa is usually prepared for most any Christmas request, but during a recent visit with students from Beekmantown Elementary School, Santa heard a few unusual ones. "I want a boa constrictor for Christmas," requested Tyler Sattaboot of West Chazy. "I'm not sure what the reindeer would think about that," chuckled Santa, "but we'll see what we can do." Luckily for Santa, this exchange happened during the fifth annual trip of Beekmantown kindergartners to the West Chazy Post Office Dec. 12. And according to Postmaster Beverly Canning, if Santa can't safely transport that boa, the United States Postal Service can. "As long as they're not venomous, reptiles can be sent through the mail," she explained. "Another little girl wanted to make sure that Santa knew how naughty her brother had been this year," the postmaster laughed. "She didn't want anything for herself, just a lump of coal for her brother." After Santa's grand arrival, courtesy of the West Chazy Volunteer Fire Department, the students got to have some one-on-one time with Santa. Santa also gave each student, no matter naughty or nice, a coloring book and goody bag filled with crayons, rub-on tattoos and, somewhat to the teachers' chagrin, whistles. Community involvement is a long-standing tradition for Postmaster Canning. "I always try to involve the community," explained she explained. "We have a great relationship with Beekmantown Central School. This event is about sharing, socialization and fostering the Christmas spirit. Plus, the children teach us something new every year." Clerks Tricia Harris and Marla Chauvin also volunteered their time for this event. Both agree the best part is "the good feeling we get inside watching the kids' expressions" when Santa arrives on the fire engine. Kindergarten teacher Beverly Brown confirms that the visit is a highlight for her class as well. "We learned about the post office and how it works," said Ms. Brown. The class also read the book "Miss Bindergarten Takes a Field Trip with Kindergarten," by Joseph Slate, to get ready for the excursion. "The kids were very excited," Ms. Brown confirmed. "We've been talking about it for weeks." Elementary school principal Sandra Gardner agreed the educational experience is very important. "They get to see the inside of a post office and what happens with mail," she explained. "We've always been very welcomed by the staff." Twins Matthew and Elizabeth Hynes, whose birthday happened to be that very day, detailed their trip. "First, we had to put on our hat and coats to go out," they recounted. Matthew added he "got to be on the end in the bus." In thanks for the visit, each class made unique ornaments with which to decorate the post office's Christmas tree. Felicity Sanger showed off her candy cane ornament. "There's tons of cinnamon and applesauce," she explained. "But you can't eat them because they have glue." Morgan Simpson, whose father works as a rural carrier at the post office, proudly showed off her ornament as well. "I want to make the tree pretty so my dad can see it everyday," she said. Other handmade ornaments, which will be on display in the lobby of the post office until New Year's, included penguin, reindeer, snowmen, gingerbread men and glittering shooting stars. Each child carefully placed their ornament on the tree before saying goodbye to Santa. Principal Gardner smiled, "The children take great pride in their ornaments."

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