18 Dec 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus to Nantucket

Here Comes Santa Claus

The stockings are lovingly hung by many Nantucket chimneys, strands of twinkling lights expertly displayed on trees, shrubs and rooftops. Cookies, fudge and even the proverbial fruitcake or two have been baked and delivered to teachers, friends and neighbors. The island holiday spirit is evident in the beautiful window displays, the wreaths proudly mounted on the front of automobiles and the sea of red, white and green walking around town as adults and children of all ages enthusiastically anticipate the arrival of Good ‘Ole St. Nick.

For many Nantucket children, Santa will arrive the traditional way (yes, that would be via reindeer driven sleigh and down the chimney Christmas Eve). They’ll send their lists off to the North Pole and true to form, Santa and his elves will make a whole lot of wishes come true with the delivery of new toys, games and shiny bicycles. For some island children however, Santa will be showing up in a less conventional (but no less miraculous) fashion this year.

The Inquirer and Mirror reports that approximately 460 children are on the list for its Inky Santa Toy Drive, the largest number in its 27 year history. This amazing organization helps ensure that every Nantucket child has an opportunity for his or her wish to come true during the holidays and beyond. As stated on their website: “Inky Santa’s Toy Drive primarily provides assistance during the holiday season, but has provided assistance to families in need throughout the year in extenuating circumstances. We do not require proof of financial need for families to qualify for our program, because the need for our services is not always strictly financial. Some of our families may not be physically or emotionally able to provide gifts for their children during the holiday season, due to a variety of reasons (e.g., medical, damage to home, etc.). Our only requirements are that the children are (i) year-round residents of Nantucket and (ii) between the ages of 1 day old to 16 years of age.”

This selfless level of investment in the families of the island is what makes Nantucket such a remarkable community. It is hard for many to imagine that the destination that the Boston Globe once labeled the “Playground of the Rich and Famous” has a similar level of suffering, struggling and need as other communities around the country. And yet it does.

The year-round and summer residents never cease to amaze me with their benevolent hearts and generous spirits…but mostly with their willingness to translate their good intentions into actions that make a difference. To quote Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street, “Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind… and that’s what’s been changing. That’s why I’m glad I’m here, maybe I can do something about it.” That’s the attitude of the many people who call Nantucket home. They see a need and they work together to find a way to meet it.

Although the gifts are now wrapped for this year’s Inky Santa Drive, it’s not too late to make a contribution. You can send a monetary donation to Inky Santa Drive, PO Box 2595, Nantucket MA 02554 or visit to learn other ways to contribute during the holidays and throughout the year. Join the many selfless volunteers whose goal is to help ensure that every Nantucket family has a Christmas that’s merry and bright.

And to all a good night.

Shellie Dunlap

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