October 18, 2021

Santa stops by McLean

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Gabriella Peer, 6, takes a candy cane Wednesday from Santa Claus outside her home at Country Acres Park in Freeville. The old elf, with help of McLean firefighters, toured the hamlet, greeting children and passing out candy.

McLEAN — With Christmas just hours away, Santa’s doppelgangers have been making trips around Cortland County to make final reviews for who is on the naughty list and who is on the nice list.

On Wednesday, the big man was spotted traveling in and around McLean, with the help of the McLean Fire Department as he greeted children and passed out candy canes.

Santa’s tour was new this year, said Assistant Fire Chief Nick Totman, who drove Santa around in one of the department’s fire engines.

Normally, the department would have a tree lighting at the fire station where children could meet Santa, he said.

Due to the pandemic, though, that had to be canceled.

Still, children didn’t seem to mind.

Kristie Robinson, and her 3-year-old daughter, Allie, greeted Santa outside their home on Champlin Road.

“She was quite excited,” Robinson said, although Allie was quite shy.

Robinson said she and her family were staying home and visiting her parents, who live next door, for Christmas.

Gabriella Peer, 6, walked right up to Santa to get a candy cane when the man in red stopped by her home in Country Acres Park.

When asked if she thought she was on the naughty or nice list, she said confidently that she’s on the nice list.


“I did all my schoolwork by myself,” Gabriella said.

As a hopeful reward for her goodness and good work, she said her top toy for Christmas was a Barbie DreamCamper.

Does she think she’ll get it?

“Yes,” she said.

Now, will Santa provide her with the coveted toy? Well, you’ll just have to ask Gabriella come Friday.

Tracking Santa

So where’s Santa going next? Ask the people at NORAD, tasked with hunting the skies 24 hours a day for incoming nuclear missiles.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command will have real-time tracking tonight of the happy fat guy, eight reindeer and a sleigh-full of gifts using 47 ground radar installations, geosynchronous satellites and fighter pilots from two air forces.

It’s a mission the command has undertaken every year since 1955, in between all those hours looking for nuclear missiles that have never arrived.

To follow the old elf’s journey, as if he didn’t have GPS, go to www.noradsanta.org.