Growing up in Minneapolis, we had a local department store called Dayton's. It was like the Macy's of Minneapolis, and in true Macy's form, the holiday festivities at Dayton's spared no expense. Every holiday season, we would visit the Dayton's display, a life-sized exhibit that rotated its literary theme. Despite the fact that I was very young when we strolled through the dazzling displays, I still remember many of them, especially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where I was terrified by seeing a boy about my age stuck in a big tube. The displays were always so real, and honestly a little creepy, with mechanically- animated mannequins portraying scenes from books. Various faces would jerkily turn to look directly at me or lift an unnaturally quick hand to hang a stocking or offer a piece of candy.
Despite the creepy mannequins, I remember those exhibits fondly. It was our annual tradition to see the display as a family, and it just enhanced that wide-eyed feeling I had as a child during the holiday season.
I hope that the library's annual holiday open house is a similar event for kids in Pendleton. For well over a decade, the library has been hosting holiday festivities where we welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to the children's department. This year's open house will be held on December 10th from 1-3 p.m., and kids can get their faces painted, enjoy holiday treats, and visit with a real live reindeer. This year, visitors will also be able to enjoy the Friends of the Library's display of gingerbread cottages, all vying to be the contest winner. I imagine these kids twenty, thirty, forty years from now saying, "We would go to the library every year to see Santa and his reindeer. Those were such fun times." And, not at all creepy.