Not even COVID-19 and frigid temperatures could prevent the Wakefield Santa Sleigh from making its annual pre-Christmas journey through town and delivering gifts Friday night. This year’s distribution of toys, clothes and gift cards brightened the holidays for more than 50 children from 40 local families.
Like so much about 2020, this Friday’s Santa Sleigh event required some adaptations. Rather than being pulled by Santa’s reindeer, Santa’s sleigh traveled through downtown on a trailer, with the reindeer trailing behind him in an auto caravan. Wakefield Police graciously escorted the group, leading the way and providing backup.
Toy distribution took place at three stops, mainly at end of the route, in the parking lot of First Parish Congregational Church. An extraordinarily helpful group of elves assisted Santa at each of the three stops.
Founded in 1990 by Wakefield resident John Shelton and his family, the Wakefield Santa Sleigh rolled through Wakefield every year through 2014 before a three-year hiatus. In 2017, another Wakefield resident, Ngan Wedemeier, revived the tradition. Wedemeier purchased the sleigh and reindeer costumes, and quickly organized a toy drive and volunteers in coordination with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wakefield & Stoneham.
The Boys and Girls Clubs has been the driving force behind the last three Wakefield Santa Sleigh events, running the toy drive and organizing volunteers.
While the Wakefield Santa Sleigh is no longer collecting contributions for 2020, it’s not too late to donate to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield’s Holiday Giving Campaign and COVID-19 Relief Fund. To make a donation, visit the club’s homepage, BGCWakefield.org