The Willcox will host the U.S. Marine Corps. Reserve’s Toys for Tots celebration – and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus – from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday.


The festive afternoon will feature the North Pole’s most famous residents having their photos taken with area children followed by a lobby full of carolers at the grand piano. Santa and Mrs. Claus will sit in their bright red sleigh in front of a roaring fire in the lobby of the 114-year-old Aiken landmark, listening to the dreams of Aiken-area children.


Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at The Willcox shortly before 4 p.m. aboard a large hay wagon filled with carolers from the Equine Support Council of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce and the Hatchaway Hounds Mock Hunt headed by Samantha Charles.


The carolers will parade around downtown Aiken on horseback and in wagons beginning at 2:30 p.m. They will deliver Santa in front of The Willcox at 4 p.m., with several more carols in front of the historic inn.


Inside the fire-lit Willcox lobby, Aiken photographer Todd Lista of Lista’s Studio of Photography will be on-hand to take photos with the Claus family. With his photo printer, Lista makes it possible to hand each family their child’s photo on the spot. Lista, like several local people and businesses, is donating his services for the Toys for Tots campaign.


Once Santa is finished filling the lobby with the echo of his ho–ho–hoing, guests will gather ‘round the grand piano for more caroling from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Song sheets will be available for everyone, as well.


There is no charge for meeting the Claus family, but a donation of an unwrapped toy or a monetary gift to Toys for Tots will be appreciated.


Toys for Tots is a mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. They collect unwrapped toys during October, November and December and distribute them as Christmas gifts to needy children in the local community.


For more information on the Aiken Toys for Tots campaign, call Lane Parker at 644-8300, or email lparkerusmc@bellsouth.net.