Carols, cookies, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Clause bring holiday joy

Heather Jauquet

An inclusive community event hosted by St. Rose of Lima Church and UpCounty Community Resources
Mrs. Claus and Santa greet attendees at a Cookies and Carols event hosted by St. Rose of Lima Church and Upcounty Community ResourcesPhoto byHeather Jauquet/Author

With blue eyes wide in amazement, a 3-year-old boy in his rain boots and oversized orange sweater whispered in awe, “Santa is here!” as he peeked behind the legs of nearby adults to wave shyly at Santa. Santa answered with his “Ho, ho, ho,” while Mrs. Claus waved cheerily back.
St. Rose Teen Choir led by choral director, Remi Bauer lead the caroling.Photo byHeather Jauquet/Author

Meanwhile, a few steps away in the Woodlands Room at St. Rose of Lima Church, with a life-size nativity as the backdrop, fairy lights hung from the rafters. With a yummy spread of holiday cookies and candy canes on the back table, the room was infused with holiday joy as the St. Rose teen choir led a roomful of people singing Christmas Carols. 

There was something for everyone as audience members participated in the singing, enthusiastically shaking their egg shakers or tapping their rhythm sticks. In the back corner, craft tables allowed the community to make easy ornaments to hang on their trees.  

For the first time since 2019, Clauses came to join the festivities at St. Rose of Lima Church. Young and old, enamored with the jolly pair, took turns to have their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Clause.

On Wednesday, December 21, St. Rose of Lima Church and the St. Rose of Lima Teen Choir, alongside their friends from UpCounty Community Resources, hosted and led an inclusive community Christmas Carol Sing-a-long open to people of all ages, abilities, and needs.

St. Rose of Lima Church, in the Archdiocese of Washington, is one of the first parishes to provide a program to address the needs of the members of their community who would benefit from an Adaptive Religious Education program. St. Rose’s motto is “All are welcome.” 

UpCounty Community Resources (UCR) is a private nonprofit that provides innovative programming for adults with disabilities. 

The Cookies and Carols was a successful event bringing a community together with caroling, crafting, cookies, and a visit from the Clauses. St. Rose, living up to its motto, All are welcome, and UCR’s promotion of full inclusion of persons with developmental and intellectual differences provided an evening of inclusive holiday joy.

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Certified educator K-12 and Reading Specialist with a focus on the adolescent brain. I write about how educational decisions affect parents, students, and staff. As an educator and parent I also focus on community events for the whole family.


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