Poor Children Get to Visit ‘Santaland’ at Macy’s

December 5, 2013 Updated: December 5, 2013

NEW YORK—Young children from all five boroughs got a chance to see “Santaland” and sit in a cozy room with Santa this Tuesday as part of what Macy’s calls “Operation Happy Children.”

Macy’s at Herald Square partnered with the Department of Homeland Services and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to give the poorest of New York City’s children some pre-Christmas fun.

While Christmas isn’t only about getting presents, the emphasis of the program seemed to be on making sure these children got a chance to bask in the holiday cheer.

Mrs. Clause greeted the mostly preschool aged children in the staff cafeteria and talked to them as they ate their complimentary breakfast before seeing Santa Clause.

“Sometimes Santa and I are very tired when we get up in the morning to come here,” Mrs. Clause told NTD Television. “But you know, when you see those children’s faces, they’re just so happy to be here, it means so much to them, that by the time we go to bed at night, we just feel so wonderful that we were here.”

Santaland is a North Pole experience right down to the bells on Santa’s suit. The children filed through paths flanked by little wooden houses, singing snowmen, life sized nutcrackers and live, smiling elves.

“You know it’s a very special select group of us from the North Pole who come down here to Macy’s and visit with all the kids here in New York, ” said Spritz, one of the elves in Santaland. “[It] is kind of the most amazing experience we could have as an elf.”

Santa let all the children pick out one present from his bounty of toys and on their way out gave them a teddy bear and a bag filled with goodies.

Macy’s has been doing this for the last 62 years, and this year marks its 63rd anniversary.

Holly Kellum is a special correspondent in New York.

Follow Holly on Twitter: @HollyGailK