Saint Nick makes Tahoe appearance |

Saint Nick makes Tahoe appearance

Susan Wood
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Brooke and Bryce Cassidy wait their turn to visit with Santa Claus on Sunday at Barton Memorial Hospital.

That nip in the air triggered something more than a cooling spell in South Lake Tahoe Sunday, as hundreds of parents and children gathered for pictures at Barton Memorial Hospital for an early visit from the North Pole’s most famous resident.

Many children came armed with wish lists and bravado.

“Have you been a good girl? Have you been a good boy?” Santa asked two youngsters situated on both knees. With a nod and a twinkle from the children, Santa got the affirmative and photographer Brooke Laine captured the moment.

Last year, about 200 families shuffled through the community facility.

It was the first time Bryce Cassidy came to Barton to meet Santa with his sister, Brooke. The youngsters were decked out in their best duds as if they were visiting grandma.

When asked, the 5-year-old boy gave Santa an earful, requesting something for Christmas that would bring him closer to the family – a remote control car. Apparently, it’s his father’s hobby.

“It was easy,” he said of the request.

Brooke, 3, had to warm up to the idea. She appeared in tears until she hit his lap. Then, the jolly fellow from the North Pole – who had a striking resemblance to Doug Forte – made her feel at home.

Every year, Sage McCaslin ensures that Santa and any mice that may be stirring feel at home at his South Shore home.

Forget the cookies.

“He leaves cheese,” said his mother, Autumn. “It’s his favorite.”

The 3-year-old boy, whose rosy cheeks surpassed Santa’s, hopes for some action in the form of Power Ranger and Ninja Turtles action figures.

His mother told her son Santa is sticking to a budget this year.

“Last year, (Santa) went crazy. (He) won’t be doing that this year,” she said.

Amy Sando hopes her two daughters’ desire to play make-believe is stronger than the images on television.

“Actually, they don’t play with toys all year. But right before Christmas, they’ll see the commercials. But if they get a toy, they might play with it for two days,” she said of Tess, 2, and Megan, 5, who blurted out she wanted a bicycle for Christmas.

With some toys – especially those in the high-tech arena – costing hundreds of dollars, Sando said she plans to continue instilling the value of allowances in her girls’ minds so they know how to earn money for what they want.

“Turn off the TV,” Debby Cassidy said without hesitation as the answer to a parent’s survival guide at Christmas.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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