Tis' the season in Reynoldsburg as families begin to gather for Thanksgiving, shop for gifts, deck the halls with glitter and glam and wait for Santa Claus to come to town.
Parks and Recreation Director Donna Bauman said the city is planning a number of fun events to celebrate the season.
Letters from Santa
"The Parks and Recreation Department does letters from Santa," Bauman said. "Children may drop their letters to Santa in Santa's mailbox that will be located at City Hall.
"Please make sure your return address is listed so that Santa can answer the letters," she said.
Letters can be dropped in the mailbox from Nov. 27 through Dec. 18 at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St.
Lighting the tree
The city's annual tree-lighting ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27, on the steps of City Hall, at 7232 E. Main St.
Mary Hudson, director of the Reynoldsburg Visitors Bureau, said entertainment that night will be provided by fourth-grade students from Rosehill and French Run elementary schools, under the direction of Scot Ashton.
Hot chocolate and other refreshments are free, provided by First Service Federal Credit Union.
Run, reindeer, run!
Parents, teenagers, runners, walkers or toddlers are all welcome to put on running shoes, holiday sweaters and costumes for the Nellie's Champions for Kids Reindeer Run 5K.
Packet pickup and registration is scheduled from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Dec. 2 at Huber Park, 1520 Davidson Drive.
Pre-registration is encouraged, at:
The NC4K Kids Fun Run at 8:45 a.m. is free, while registration for the 9 a.m. 5K run/walk costs $30 for pre-registration and $40 per person on race day.
Proceeds benefit area children and teens battling cancer during the holiday season, said Mandy Powell, executive director of NC4K.
"In 2016, we had 587 runners and were able to raise $20,000," Powell said. "All funds raised go directly to support our annual holiday program for pediatric cancer families."
She said the race is an opportunity for families and communities to gather, celebrate the holidays and raise money for a good cause.
"At NC4K, we value family time," Powell said. "We've created this race in the spirit of making memories and bringing our NC4K community together during the holidays.
"This race has a lot to offer, from the free Kids Fun Run to the holiday-themed outfits," she said. "All level (of) runners and walkers are invited; strollers are welcome, too. Timing chips are provided for all paid registrants and best of all, we will have hot chocolate and bagels to wrap up the race."
Christmas on the Town
Also on Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Christmas on the Town will be held in old Reynoldsburg, along Main Street east of Lancaster Avenue.
Hudson said Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus would attend, with local shops offering holiday specials and refreshments.
Horse-and-carriage rides around old Reynoldsburg are free with a donation for the Helping Hands Food Pantry.
A Lego blocks play area will be set up during the event and several collection boxes will be located around town, including at the Reynoldsburg Division of Police, 7240 E. Main St., for people to donate Lego sets in honor of Braxton Long.
After battling cancer for more than two years, the Slate Ridge first-grader was 8 when he died July 24. Braxton had made it his goal to collect 2,000 Lego sets to give to children at Nationwide Children's Hospital for Christmas and his family and city organizations are working to meet that goal.
A Lego play area will be set up at Cotner Funeral Home, 7369 E. Main St., along with a collection box where people can donate Lego sets and gift cards.
Officer Michele Fulton, a member of the Reynoldsburg Police Division Community Resource Bureau, said officers will not only participate in the NC4K Reindeer Run, but will be collecting Lego sets.
"We will be trying to wrangle up as many Lego sets as possible to support Super Braxton's goal of 2,000 Lego sets for the children at Children's Hospital," she said.
She said the CRB is also planning a "poker run" with area first responder vehicles to make stops around the area, collecting Legos and gift cards.
Shop with a Cop
Reynoldsburg's "Shop with a Cop" also is coming up, where the division partners with Target stores and other public safety agencies to help needy students buy Christmas gifts for family members.
Shopping day is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Target store in Reynoldsburg, but the division needs donations of Target gift cards, plus wrapping supplies and snacks.
Fulton said local businesses have made donations for the event in the past.
"We have worked with local businesses to make the holiday season brighter for children who might not otherwise enjoy the holiday," she said. "Children are selected by the administrators of the local schools, based on the apparent need of their families."
She said first responders from last year's event have already contacted her and want to be a part of shopping day this year.
"The number of students invited depends on the amount of the donations," she said. "We like to provide $100 to each student."
To donate, contact Fulton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breakfast with Santa
The Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring Breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 16 at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, 1520 Davidson Drive.
"The price is $5 per person and you must pre-register," Bauman said. "Space is limited, so register early."
She said the cutoff date for registration is 5 p.m. Dec. 8.
Coffee with a Cop
Taylor Square Community officer Tamara Jackson and other members of the Reynoldsburg police force will gather for coffee and conversation at 9 a.m. Dec. 16 at the substation directly behind the Chipotle restaurant at the corner of state Route 256 and Farmsbury Drive.
Jackson said the officers at the substation would be happy to meet with the community and also would be collecting Lego sets.