Even Santa likes a good deal

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I know, I know.

I get that a lot of people don’t want to decorate, or sing carols or even talk about Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving has had its turn, but this is too exciting not to mention. You see, every year we put on a big event that turns St. Maries into an old-fashioned snow globe: We roast chestnuts on the sidewalks, block off Main Avenue and set up fire pits in the middle of the street, we visit with Santa and our friends, and we shop at local businesses owned by our neighbors. But mostly we spread seasonal cheer.

This year, Christmas in St. Maries has started early, and we’re kind of excited about it. A new holiday contest was introduced last weekend that encourages shoppers to spend their money locally. The “Ho, Ho, Ho Dashing for Dough” Shopping Giveway is the newest addition to the annual celebration.

The St. Maries Chamber of Commerce and local businesses are sponsoring the contest. Shoppers who spend $10 or more at 15 participating businesses will be entered into a drawing to win $400 in chamber gift certificates. A second place prize of $100 in gift certificates will also be awarded.

Mykel Jensen, 4, receives a candy cane for getting his photo taken with Santa Claus during the 2012 Christmas in St. Maries celebration.

A total of 25 businesses are participating, including Country Fair, Timber Country, IGA, Jack’s Pharmacy, The Paperhouse, Grub Box, Taco Shack, Harvest Foods, Junction Drive-In, Suntan Etc., St. Maries Saw & Cycle, BrickWall, Hughes Ace Hardware, Triple XXX, Pizza Factory, KNRH Printing,NAPA, St. Maries Co-Op, Blue Goose, Heidi’s Sandwich and Catering, Big River Designs, Idaho Rigging, Main Street Espresso, Cabin City and Inspirations Hair Salon by Sabrina.

Punch cards for the contest can be picked up at any participating business, and all cards must be submitted to the Chamber’s Christmas in St. Maries table by 4 p.m. during the festivities, Saturday, Dec. 7. Winners will be drawn at 5 p.m.

Santa Claus arrives by horse-drawn wagon with a load of children.

Also new this year is a snowman building and decorating contest. A $25 gift certificate will be awarded to the first place winners of each age group. Other festivities included are horse-drawn wagon rides, professional photos with Santa, letters to Santa, a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Contest, the Stroll on Main, craft fairs and the main event, the Lighted Christmas Parade.

Mira Cook looks at the trees entered into the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree contest on Main Avenue during the 2012 Christmas in St. Maries festivities.

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