Written for The Boston Globe

Children, present and past, pitch in

The Boston Globe

November 30, 2005

By Michael Naughton, Globe Santa Correspondent

When Trudi Goodman gave a few dollars to Globe Santa yesterday, she knew firsthand what kind of an impact there could be.

Dressed in a 1760s serving-woman costume, the Freedom Trail tour guide from Cambridge explained her childhood experience with Globe Santa.

“When I was a child and my father was out of work, a neighbor had written a letter, and Globe Santa came through,” she said. “Times are very hard for people in Boston now, and you’ve got to help out when you can.”

Goodman was one of the many contributors who donated money to Globe Santa yesterday outside Borders, at Downtown Crossing.

The money from Goodman and the other contributors will bring Christmas joy to the more than 20,000 families expected to request Globe Santa’s help in providing gifts that they just do not have the money to buy.

Two 5-year-olds, Haley McGregoris and Kara Pekkinen, donated to Globe Santa for the first time yesterday and were as excited to receive candy as they were to meet jolly old St. Nick himself. “I liked him,” McGregoris said while clutching her chocolate Santa. Another child receiving a candy cane from Santa after making a donation was Tayla Nolen of Boston.

Other first-time contributors, Brendan, 2, and Conor Power, 4, of Hingham, were not as eager. The two clutched onto their mother until she was able to persuade them to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Conor said that he wanted an airplane, and that his brother wanted a train.

Brendan and Conor were not distracted by the clip-clopping hooves of Boston Police horses.

Officers Dave Powell and Joe Fawkes rode their horses, Dilliden and Pellinore, among shoppers at Downtown Crossing and up to the sleigh and also donated a few dollars to Globe Santa.

David Wygant, author of “Always Talk to Strangers: 3 Simple Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life,” took time out before and after his book talk at Borders to try to explain to passersby that the holiday season is the best time to meet new people. “The best tip I can give is to go people shopping, not just Christmas shopping.”

Also joining Globe Santa was Adrian Walker, the columnist for The Boston Globe.

This is the second year in a row that Borders has allowed the Globe Santa sleigh to set up. The district marketing manager, Susan Chinsen, said having Santa and his helpers brings attention to the store. “It’s a great foundation that helps kids in need, and it’s a great way for us to help.”

The Globe Santa sleigh will be outside Borders at Downtown Crossing again this afternoon, as well as five more times this holiday season.