There's still time to see Santa before Christmas
If you still want "an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time," as Ralphie Parker did in "A Christmas Story," it's not too late to ask Santa, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.
The News-Gazette has made a list and is checking it twice for late-season Saint Nick appearances.
If you know of a place to visit Santa that we've missed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add you to the online version of this story.
Here we are, from Arcola to Urbana:
The Green Mill Village Holiday Walk continues though Saturday at Arcola's Carriage Crossing Senior Living and Best Western Plus.
From 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, the event includes breakfast with Santa at Carriage Crossing, $5; Santa's workshop, with cookie decorating, holiday crafts, story time with Mrs. Claus and mailing a letter to Santa, $5; and a silent auction ending at noon. More information is at http://www.gmvdevelopment.com.
At Champaign's Market Place Shopping Center, the hard-working Santa has long hours (before he makes toys all night).
Until Christmas Eve, Santa is on the clock from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. According to elf labor laws, he gets breaks from 1 to 2 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.
On Sundays, he's making his lists from noon to 6 p.m., with a break from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
On Dec. 22-23, he works 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with breaks at 1 and 5 p.m.
On Christmas Eve, Santa has to leave early, so it's just a 9 to 5 day, with a break at 12:30 p.m.
The shopping center suggests you start a new tradition and visit Santa in your pajamas. Bring your child's favorite stuffed animal, blanket or book.
Pet Night is 6 to 8 p.m. Monday; the last Pajama Night is 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Mrs. Claus will read to the children at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Also in Champaign, families are invited to visit with Santa Claus from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at Jane Addams Book Shop, 208 N. Neil St. Bring your wish list to share with Santa or just stop by to ask if you're on the naughty or nice list this year. Santa will have a candy cane for each of his younger visitors.
No photographer will be present, so parents are invited to bring their cameras to take photographs of their children visiting with Santa.
At the Village Mall in Danville, Santa is in the building from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday until Christmas Eve.
Cindy Compton, the general manager, said there's the Village Mall Express, an annual train tradition, running close enough to Santa to call out your wishes.
Want to get a few rounds in with Santa? Hopefully, his belly won't hurt his swing. There's breakfast (9 a.m.) and brunch (11 a.m.) Saturday with Santa at Urbana's Stone Creek Golf Club at the golf course's new casual eatery, Attie's.
The restaurant formally opens two days later.
Located in the old pro shop, the place has 11 screens to watch sports. If the weather's right, manager Michelle Doyle says, Santa might be dressed warm enough for golf.
Breakfast includes a picture with Santa. Call 367-9876 for reservations.
Also in Urbana, Lincoln Square has the jolly old elf available for consultation from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.