Milk and cookies popular, but not only snacks left for Santa

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 17, 2007

Cooper and Cory Patterson of Brookhaven don’t want Santa and hisreindeer to go hungry on their house-to-house trip around the worldon Christmas Eve.

The boys, ages 7 and 9 respectively, make it a point to leaveOreos and milk for Santa Claus every Christmas Eve, as well as atreat for the reindeer.

“We leave Oreos because we like them,” their mother Robin said.”Oreos and milk go good together, and we figure Santa likes dunkinghis cookies.”

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And Rudolph and his pals also get a special treat at thePatterson household: A mixture of reindeer food that will help themsee in the dark of night.

“We make reindeer food,” said Robin. “The glitter is to show thereindeer where to land. It goes in the yard, not on the roof.”

But, she said, the reindeer food is for reindeer only, andshouldn’t be eaten by people or little elves.

“It’s reindeer food; only reindeer can eat it,” Robin said. “Weuse glitter and oatmeal and sugar and other ingredients, andthere’s a poem that goes with it too.”

And both Robin and her husband Shannon have their own memoriesof leaving treats for Santa when they were children. Robin said herfamily left Christmas tree-shaped Little Debbie Snack Cakes whenshe was a child, while Shannon’s offerings were a little morehomemade.

“We left frosted oatmeal cookies, because that’s what I liked,”Shannon said. “I figured he did, too.”

Santa did seem to like the cookies, he said, and always ate asmuch as he could.

“As far as I remember he ate them every year, and there werealways crumbs,” he said. “But he always left part of the cookietoo.”

Ary and Lance Mize’s 2 1/2 year old daughter Arly will bepresenting Santa with chocolate chip cookies, a treat that both ofher parents say they used to leave for the jolly old elf aschildren.

Lance and his twin brother Leland, who grew up in Copiah County,weren’t sticklers for Santa’s cookies, though. He said sometimesSanta got to eat at their house, sometimes he didn’t.

“We left him chocolate chip cookies, I think, but we didn’t doit every year,” he said. “We didn’t make a ritual of it.”

Amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, Ary is ready for thecharge of feeding Santa this year, even if it takes a slightshortcut.

“We’ve already gotten the cut-out slice-and-bake cookies thatcome in different shapes,” she said.

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and the others will be able to findtheir way to the Mize home too, as Ary shares the reindeer foodrecipe Robin Patterson uses as well.

Lincoln County’s Vera Black has different memories, though. Shesaid both when she was a child and when her children were young,they prepared a plate of cake and beef jerky for Santa.

“My mother always told me if Santa wanted to save the beef jerkyfor later, it would keep,” she said. “And nobody ever thinks aboutif he might be tired of all the sweets. Cookies at every house inthe world is a lot of sugar.”

She said her mother would make a caramel cake each year, andleave a giant piece for Kris Kringle, though it’s possible he hadto share.

“I think my daddy got into that piece, but I never told him Ithought so,” she said with a wink.