Kids get in Christmas spirit at Capitol
The governor for a couple hours Tuesday was second fiddle at the state Capitol.
More than 1,000 children from across the state showed up at the Capitol to decorate 42 small artificial Christmas trees scattered throughout the Capitol.
The highlight for most was Santa coming by to take a look at their trees and to have him pose with them for a picture with each class.
But at least one child, Emerson Hagy, 5, a kindergartener at Clegern Elementary School in Edmond, was looking forward to seeing Gov. Brad Henry, who with his wife, Kim, accompanied Santa on his rounds.
“He kept calling him President Henry,” said his mother, Wendy Hagy. “I had to tell him, ‘No, it’s not president, it’s governor.’”
The students, ranging in age from preschool to eighth grade, came from schools in Chickasha, Choctaw-Nicoma Park, Edmond, Flower Mound, Maple, Midwest City-Del City, Millwood, Moore, Oklahoma City, Piedmont, Putnam City, Shawnee, Silo and Yukon. Each class was assigned a tree to decorate. After being offered refreshments, students also made Christmas cards for members of the military.
They changed the bare plastic trees into colorful displays with ornaments featuring snowmen, reindeer, snowflakes, elves, mittens, wreaths and penguins.
One tree was decorated with planets. West Nichols Hills Elementary School in Oklahoma City called its tree “the best little Christmas tree in the solar system.”
While Santa is used to inclement weather, organizers of Tuesday’s Christmas festivities were leery of predicted rain when the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree was scheduled to take place about 6 p.m. outside on the south steps. The lighting was moved indoors to the bottom of the Grand Staircase.
The Henrys had three special guests help them turn on the 30-foot-tall artificial tree. Camden Looper, 5, of Moore, Blake Reddick, 7, of Edmond, and Abbey Riggs, 4, of Washington, OK, each received life-saving blood transfusions from the Oklahoma Blood Institute. The first lady asked the three to remind Oklahomans to consider donating blood during the holiday season.
“Please, please donate blood this time of year,” she said.
Camden has had about 20 blood transfusions in his battle with leukemia, his mother, Danielle Looper, said. The disease is in remission, and Camden is in kindergarten.
Blake has had four open-heart surgeries, his mother, Melanie Reddick, said.
Abbey has had 42 blood transfusions in the past year as she fights leukemia, said her mother, Michelle Riggs.
“She wouldn’t be here without them,” Michelle Riggs said.
The Henrys, after turning on the switch, ventured outside to look at the tree and waved to a crowd gathered on the south steps. The rain hadn’t arrived yet.
Before going outside, the governor reminded the crowd to keep in mind the true meaning of Christmas.
“It’s about peace on earth,” he said. “It’s about giving, especially to those who may not be as fortunate as we are.”
- Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau
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