GROSSE POINTE SHORES — While warming up the crowd with Christmas carols prior to Santa’s arrival, the fifth-grade chorus from Our Lady Star of the Sea School modified the ending of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” to put the namesake’s legacy in historical context:
“You’ll go down in history — like George Washington,” they sang.
About 100 people attended the Lighting of the Village ceremony on the front steps of city hall Sunday evening, Dec. 1, none of whom had a problem suspending disbelief.
Santa was due to arrive at 6 p.m. for his annual pre-Christmas visit to Grosse Pointe Shores.
He always switches from his sleigh to take the last leg of the journey on Lakeshore standing atop one of the city’s red and chrome fire trucks, emergency lights flashing and siren sounding. Motorists yield to his approach.
“Santa, Santa !” carolers chanted as the truck, driven by Chief John Schulte (“Only the best for Santa,” he said), entered the municipal driveway and parked in the turnaround.
“When I was flying over in my sleigh, I heard some singing,” Santa said to the choir. “Was that you, boys and girls? You were singing so many of my favorite songs. You did a great job.”
“This serves as a kick-off for the holiday season, an opportunity for all of us friends and neighbors to come together in fellowship and share in the joy of this wonderful season, the season of gratitude,” said Mayor Ted Kedzierski.
“This is one of Santa’s favorite places to come, boys and girls,” said Santa’s sidekick, Christmas Carol, wearing a red coat and earmuffs.
“He loves our fire truck,” Kedzierski said.
“Here’s little Teddy,” Santa said to Kedzierski. “Oh, I’m sorry. Not little Teddy anymore — Mayor Kedzierski.”
The ceremony takes place amid decorations installed by municipal employees and members of the beautification commission. Members of the Shores Improvement Foundation provide hot cocoa and marshmallows.
The crowd counted down from 10 and turned on the lights, including on a tree at the corner of Lakeshore and Vernier, which Santa uses as a navigation beacon.
“I always look for these lights to know I’m in Grosse Pointe Shores to visit all the wonderful boys and girls,” he said.