Jingles and Jammies event brings Santa Claus, Charlie Brown to town
by Rachel Gray
December 14, 2013 11:17 PM | 2413 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Ward Recreation Center in west Cobb played host to Jingles and Jammies, a Christmas event where guests were invited to have breakfast, make gingerbread houses, sing carols, visit Santa and watch ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ all in their pajamas. Right: Arianna Gambino, 3, and her mom, Cindy Gambino of Kennesaw, color a picture of Santa after eating breakfast.

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Staff/Todd Hull
The Ward Recreation Center in west Cobb played host to Jingles and Jammies, a Christmas event where guests were invited to have breakfast, make gingerbread houses, sing carols, visit Santa and watch ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ all in their pajamas. Right: Arianna Gambino, 3, and her mom, Cindy Gambino of Kennesaw, color a picture of Santa after eating breakfast.
Staff/Todd Hull
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POWDER SPRINGS — More than 100 adults and children, clad in their pajamas, enjoyed brunch while waiting for a visit from Santa Claus, as well as Charlie Brown and his friends.

The annual holiday event, Jingles and Jammies, was Saturday morning at the Ward Recreation Center off Dallas Highway for the fourth time.

A similar event has been at other Cobb facilities over the last 22 years, said Wendy Collins, the recreation coordinator for Cobb County Parks.

Collins, who was dressed in reindeer pajamas, said the morning brunch has become a family tradition, where parents can create memories with their children by doing a fun activity such as making a gingerbread house.

Children as young as 2 years old and adults up to 70 years old were all anxious for Santa to visit and collect wish lists from all the kids, Collins said.

Jacob Miller, of Dallas, brought his two children Saturday: Emily, 7, and Gabriel, who is almost 4 years old.

Miller said his family was invited by an employee who works at the Ward Recreation Center and accepted because “my kids wanted to see Santa.”

The Miller children had yet to get their chance this season, he added.

Miller said it is exciting to be with his children at the holidays and seeing them “getting so giddy.”

“It takes some of the stress away,” Miller said.

His daughter, Emily, said the best thing about Christmas is the presents. Emily added she will be asking Santa for a Barbie Dreamhouse.

Familiar Christmas sights, sounds

Each year, a different child-acted play is presented during Jingle and Jammies, with past selections including Frosty the Snowman and The Polar Express.

“It is short-attention-span theater,” said Nelah Gabler, who directs the 20 to 25 minute plays.

On Saturday morning, a gathering of small children sat on the gymnasium floor in their pajamas as the young actors pretended to skate. Then the familiar notes of “Christmas Time Is Here” chimed through the speakers.

Gabler said she chose “A Charlie Brown Christmas” this year because although it had not been presented in a while, it has been a standard — performed three or four times in the past.

Brightly colored cardboard trees of orange, deep blue and purple mimicked the design of the animated feature, as well as Snoopy’s house, Lucy’s Psychiatric Help stand and Schroder’s piano.

Gabler is the coordinator of The Art Place-Mt. View. She has been running the productions for 17 years, which is a fundraiser for the art facility of Cobb County Parks in east Cobb.

In October, Gabler said some familiar faces auditioned, as well as new kids who were looking for a way to get into theater.

The production had a cast of eight children, ranging in age from 10 to 14 years old. They rehearsed twice a week, Gabler said.

Gabler said the children were familiar with the cartoon, which first aired as a television special in 1965. It is special to be a part of acting it out live in front of young kids and families, she added.

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