Hospital holiday celebration draws out big crowd Thursday

December 14, 2018 GMT

Baby, it was definitely cold outside.

But that didn’t stop hundreds of Columbus residents from attending Thursday’s first-ever “Oh Deer, The Holidays are Here!” extravaganza held at Columbus Community Hospital.

A long line of attendees stretched out across one of CCH’s northern parking lots into a storage building that was transformed into Santa’s personal workshop for the occasion. Old Saint Nick was in attendance with two of his reindeer, an authentic sleigh and a decorated chair he sat in while children plopped down on his lap for a quick photo and to reveal their wish list.

The free extravaganza, running from 4-7 p.m., provided a way for community members and the hospital’s 750-plus employees to have a fun night out with their families without having to break the bank.

“It packed up right at 4 and it hasn’t slow down at all since,” CCH President and CEO Mike Hansen said while walking around taking in the scenery.

While some children were a little apprehensive about sitting down on Santa’s lap, Heidi Elliott’s three children, 5-year-old Conner, and 3-year-old twins, Walker and Parker, appeared to feel right at home.

“This is just a great time, we just love how the hospital is doing this showing their support for the community,” Elliott said while ushering her children away from the picture-taking area. “They love seeing Santa.”

Columbus High School’s jazz band and indoor winter percussion group also treated those in attendance to an abundance of holiday tunes. A hot cocoa bar – with an assortment of tasty toppings – helped warm attendees up while they braved the near-freezing temperatures.

The first 200 kiddos who showed up also received a special holiday gift: A unique CCH custom ornament to add to their Christmas trees. The idea is ultimately to make “Oh Deer, The Holidays Are Here!” an annual CCH event much like its community Easter egg hunt.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.