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Families find Christmas joy at history center
Pat Ware helps children make their own Christmas cards Sunday afternoon at the Northeast Georgia History Center during Christmas Then and Now, the theme for this month’s Family Sunday event. Children took part in arts and crafts projects and visited Santa Claus.

Patrick Jones’ blue eyes lit up when he was asked what he wants for Christmas.

After his brother, 9-year-old Clayton Jones, whispered a few ideas in his ear, 6-year-old Patrick said, "A new football!"

The boys were ready to have their picture taken with Santa on Sunday at the Northeast Georgia History Center and discuss more present ideas with the Jolly Ol’ Elf.

The two football lovers, who said they would like to play the sport in the future, were spending the day with their mom, Lisa Jones.

Jones believes that it is important for families to attend Christmas events together during the winter season.

"That’s what the season is about — being together and being a family," Jones said.

This month’s Family Sunday at the Northeast Georgia History Center featured past and present Christmas customs and photos with Santa. This is the second year that Santa has visited the Family Sunday event.

"His vision must have gotten worse because he has glasses this year," joked Julie Carson, the administrative coordinator of the Northeast Georgia History Center.

Carson said that many kids started off with photos with Santa and then made a frame for the photo.

While the frame dried, kids and their parents were able to go into the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center for other arts and crafts.

Volunteers with Santa hats were ready in the education center to help kids make wrapping paper with old-fashioned potato stamps that were made from real potatoes. Kids also made snowmen and angel ornaments.

Carson hopes that visitors left Sunday with an appreciation of how Christmas was in the past as well as the present.

"All of our crafts reflect a historical connection with the past and what we do today," Carson said. "I hope that people have a good time and see that the history center is not a dull, dry place but a living place, and there is so much to see and do here, especially for families."

Shane Gaddy was at the Family Sunday with his wife and daughter, Clare, who is 22 months old.

Clare was a little bashful when getting her picture taken with Santa, but she seemed to enjoy making an ornament in the education center with the help of her mom and dad.

Gaddy said he hopes that in a couple of years Clare will be more willing to have her picture taken with Santa.