Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – April Talbert, owner of Southern Beauty Salon in Lexington, knows what it means to be away from your family for Christmas. April grew up in foster care and had very little family stability in her life when she was a child. That’s why she felt it was very important to make sure that the children that are residents of Palmetto Place, an emergency children’s shelter for kids who’ve been removed from their homes by the state, had as much of a real, home-style Christmas as they could. Saturday evening, April and a small band of volunteers, held a Christmas gathering where the children could eat, sing karaoke, play games, see Santa, and just enjoy Christmas like a child should.
First let me say that April had done a beautiful job of decorating the salon. It had been transformed from a business to an absolute winter wonderland. There were a number of Christmas trees, all gorgeously decorated, and snowflakes hanging in long streams from the ceiling. There were wreaths, tables laden with candles and other decorations, and even a small fireplace that looked so real I stood in front of it thinking I could warm my hands. Most importantly, the largest tree was almost smothered in Christmas gifts for the kids.
Santa was roaming the room, but from the start, the karaoke was the hit with the teens that came. With a bit of prodding, they picked up the mics and began singing pop tunes that are hits today. Later, they somehow got on Disney tunes from several hit movies, and shamelessly belted those out as they danced to the music.
At another spot in the room, the smaller children played JENGA and other games. Everyone snacked on treats that were all around the room such as cookies, popcorn, and hotdogs that were great. There were juice boxes for the little ones and hot chocolate and sodas for the older folks in the crowd.
Eventually, Santa took a seat and the children lined up to get gifts from old St. Nick. Even the teens enjoyed picking their gifts from the huge pile. It was a beautiful bit of normalcy for children who don’t necessarily have what most of us would consider a normal life.
In this short video, April Talbert and Sarah, a staffer at Palmetto Place, talk about the event and what it means to Talbert and the children.