Santa’s Cabin: a Hanover tradition of wishlists and stories

Santa’s cabin in Hanover (Haley Staub)

By Haley Staub,
Spring Grove Area High School

“There’s a little magic in this cabin,” Santa said before welcoming another eager child onto his lap.

Santa at the cabin in Hanover. (Haley Staub)

On Nov. 24, Santa manned his chair in Santa’s Cabin, a small log cabin that faces Hanover Square. Santa makes his entrance into Hanover every year in a parade the day after Thanksgiving.

Some children smiled and jumped onto Santa’s lap, filling his ears with items from their wishlists. Others hesitated, but they soon warmed up to his charm. A few kids clung to their parents’ arms and wouldn’t speak to Santa.

“Each one coming through [the door] is a new story,” Santa said.

Santa shared one of his favorite stories about a visit from a 4-year-old girl. He said the girl burst into tears outside his cabin as soon as she saw him. Eventually, they were able to bring her inside, but she continued to cling to her mother in the corner.

After time, some coaxing and “a little magic,” the bashful girl sat on his lap.

On. Nov. 24, cousins, Cody, 5, and Caylee, 4, of Hanover visited Santa with their “Pappy,” who came to Santa’s Cabin as a child. Cody asked for a Ninja Turtle house and a truck, and Caylee asked for a play kitchen and a doll. They said they looked forward to putting out cookies and milk for Santa, along with carrots for the reindeer.

Santa said his elves are working hard on this year’s hot wishlist items that include: anything electronic, radio control cars, Legos, Wii games, trains, trucks and Barbies.

Santa’s Cabin — which is in its 75th year — originally stemmed from an attempt to attract people to Hanover after the Great Depression, according to its website. The cabin has become a tradition that unites three to four generations and draws people from across the U.S. and abroad.

Santa’s favorite part of his job is the smiles.

“To see the smiling faces of children young and old, brings great joy to me,” Santa said. “Seeing the familiar faces and new first year Christmas babies…even the response from adults is great, as they reminisce of yesteryear.”

Santa also faces some challenges in his job. One of his biggest challenges is not being able to promise kids that his elves can make everything on their wishlists. Santa also faces the challenge of realizing that not every child will have a great Christmas.

“Sometimes, it’s not about the presents, but the presence of family, or lack of, for one reason or another, that will make a difference,” Santa said. “A kind word or a hug can sometimes go a long way.”

Santa’s Cabin possesses deep traditions that have brought magic to this small town in York County for the past 75 years.

About Matt Eyer

Breaking News Editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter @mjeyer.
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