By Crystal Thompson
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's "Operation Stop" program sponsored it's annual Christmas party for local youth Saturday.
The party took place in the basement of the First Lutheran Church in Havre. Several BNSF employees, as well as numerous local families who were randomly chosen to attend through various community programs, filled the basement of the church to partake in the sweets and treats made available by the numerous fund-raisers Operation Stop holds throughout the year.
The Havre High School Hi-Liter's performed Christmas songs at the party, including The Christmas Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and the famous "Grinch" theme song. During their last number, the Hi-Liter's ventured into the audience, took the hands of the children and strolled around the room together while singing "It's a marshmallow world in the winter..."
Following the musical performance, the audience was treated to a magic show including disappearing eggs, mysterious rope tricks, and of course a "magic word". After the magic show, the audience had a chance to mingle and get a taste of some of the many cookies and candies available at the snack bar while waiting for Santa to arrive.
After what seemed like an eternity to the youngsters anxiously awaiting him, Santa arrived, along with Mrs. Claus and their helpful elf. Santa took a seat in front of the lighted Christmas tree in the corner of the room, and began to hand out the many presents from beneath the tree. As the names were called, each child went to Santa to receive his or her gift.
The faces of the children lit up while wrapping paper was shredded and boxes were opened, revealing the gifts that Santa had brought. After all the gifts were handed out and all the garbage cans were full of the colorful wrapping remnants, the crowd dispersed with smiling faces.
Once again the Operation Stop Christmas party was a success, making a difference in the lives of families, and insuring that several local children would have a very merry Christmas.