EDWARDSVILLE - St. Mary’s School in Edwardsville will host their annual Breakfast With Santa again this year. Families can celebrate the start of the holiday season with St. Nick himself.

From 8:30–11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, attendees can enjoy crafts, games and breakfast and get their photo taken with Santa Claus. Located at 1802 Madison Avenue in Edwardsville, St. Mary’s School is connected to St. Mary’s Church, and organizers emphasize that everyone is welcome to spread some Christmas cheer and learn more about the parish and school.

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“St. Mary’s is a great place to be,” said organizer and parent Brandy Smith. “There are several events that St. Mary’s definitely offers outside of our parish. Our goal is to let people in the community be part of our school, our church, just to get involved and feel like, ‘I have a place to go to celebrate Christmas.’...We just want everybody to feel included whether you’re a member, student or part of the community. All are welcome to help celebrate and kick off this holiday season.”

Reservations are required and can be made here. St. Mary’s asks everyone to reserve their spots by Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. Children 12 and under are $8 and adults are $10, which covers the cost of breakfast. Santa will be available for photos for $6, plus $2 per additional picture. You can access the hot chocolate bar for $3.

Proceeds go toward St. Mary’s sixth-grade class. They will use the funds to attend Space Camp during their seventh-grade year. Parents and students will be volunteering during the event, including Smith and her sixth grader.

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In the past, Breakfast With Santa has welcomed approximately 300 attendees throughout the morning, though they’re on track to beat that record this year with over 200 reservations already made.

“As long as I can remember, being a parishioner, I think [the Breakfast With Santa event] was for fundraising purposes as well as letting [attendees] know a little bit about our parish,” Smith explained. “Wanting to get the community involved outside of our parishioners, having pride in our school as well as our church, and inviting families in to have some of these experiences with us.”

Smith added that parishioners and parents are heavily involved in church and school events, which is partly why she enjoys being a part of the St. Mary’s community. She is excited to see people from St. Mary’s at the Breakfast With Santa event, but she also hopes that more community members from across the Riverbend region will come out to see everything St. Mary’s has to offer.

“Obviously, I love my church. I love the school that my kids go to,” Smith said. “Everybody is very, very willing to participate and help, so it really makes for a very positive learning environment as well as a family to feel like my kid is supported in so many ways…It’s a very quaint, homey feeling, and really, just beautiful people on the inside and out. So I’m glad that we can share our facilities, our services and provide a fun event for all ages, anyone who believes.”

Breakfast With Santa will take place from 8:30–11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2023, at St. Mary’s School in Edwardsville. Reserve your spot here. For more information about St. Mary’s School and Church, visit the official St. Mary’s website at StMaryEDW.org.

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