The Kids Yule Love Christmas Program is a tradition that started at Tattnall Square Academy in 1988. The holiday gifting program has continued to thrive and grow over the years since then.
County Commissioner Joe Allen started Kids Yule Love in 1986 to help needy local families to provide Christmas toys for their children.
In 1988 Mrs. Shirley Kitchings, the Student Council Advisor, and Mrs. Ruby Jo Argo, the Key Club Advisor, discussed the needs of the Kids Yule Love Program with Mr. Allen. Through their conversations, a collaboration between Tattnall Square Academy and Kids Yule Love was born. They decided that the Student Council would be in charge of the Christmas Program while the Key Club would be in charge of collecting the toys.
I was a student at Tattnall when this tradition started, and I have always been amazed at how much it has grown since 1988.
Since 1988, Tattnall has continued to be one of the biggest contributors of toys for Kids Yule Love. Every student from kindergarten to 12th grade is asked to bring at least one toy to the yearly Christmas program.
“Many of our students take a lot of time selecting their toys,” said Mrs. Kitchings, who is still teaching at Tattnall Square Academy, and still looks forward to helping Kids Yule Love.
I remember, as a student, enjoying choosing gifts when my own parents took me to choose a gift each year. I chose a toy that I would like to have gotten for Christmas each year until I graduated.
Returning to Tattnall to participate in Kids Yule Love as an adult, it is heartwarming to see that as much as the program has grown, it is still the same in many fundamental ways. Seeing the joy on the students’ faces when they gave their toys to the elves to put under the Christmas tree reminded me of all my happy memories of my past programs as a student at Tattnall. The Christmas spirit was overwhelming.
I could not believe the huge amount of toys that were placed under the Tattnall Christmas tree. Each gift represented a young life in Macon that would be touched this holiday season. It made me thankful that Tattnall students, faculty, and alumni help to make sure needy children in our community can have a joyous Christmas morning.
Ever since the beginning of the Kids Yule Love Christmas Program, Mrs. Kitchings has always written each script in poem form for the Student Council and Key Club members to perform.
Each year’s program is based on different themes, including The Nutcracker Ballet, Christmas Spectacular, the Polar Express, and The Grinch. Even though each program has a different theme, the main focus of the Christmas program is sharing the real meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus. Every year, the program concludes with faculty children and grandchildren present the nativity.
Mrs. Kitchings credits a very special member of her own family for helping to make the Christmas program a success. “I could never do any of these programs without the help of my husband, Gene. Although, I am the creator of the scripts, he is the one who makes my ideas become a reality by running the sound and helping build sets,” she says.
There are several traditional parts of the Christmas Program, which include:
• Students in kindergarten through fifth grade, dressed as reindeer, sing “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
• Student Council presents a dramatic performance on the program’s theme.
• Elementary students preform a song from their Christmas concerts.
• Senior Girls, dressed as Santa’s elves, perform a dance routine.
• Santa arrives in his sleigh pulled by students dressed as reindeer.
• Santa gives out gag gifts.
• Tattnall Square band members perform Christmas songs.
• Toy Parade of students dressed up as popular toys.
• Tattnall’s Rockettes, comprised of the Tattnall Square Academy dance team, give a performance that always wows the audience.
• Faculty children and grandchildren create a living Nativity Scene.
All of the students and teachers look forward to Tattnall’s Kids Yule Love Christmas Program. Many say it is their favorite school day of the year. The toys, the elves, Santa and his reindeer, the gag gifts, the Christmas carols, the nativity scene- all of these get us into the Christmas spirit. Sharing that spirit with Macon’s needy children makes Kids Yule Love a program we all love.