“I want for my mommy to come home and my daddy to stay in jail.”

This past Sunday, I once again had the pleasure and honor of acting as the Santa photographer at the annual Reno Fire Department’s Children’s Christmas Party.  It’s been going on for several years now and serves kids who are either homeless or living in shelters or motels.  The kids are paired up with mentors who take them through the Reno Ballroom where they can get a hot meal, do some arts and crafts, get their faces painted, pick up some clothes and toys, and visit with Santa (and get  a photo to take with them).   The mentors are a key part of this event. They sit with the kids, talk to them, listen.  Bonds are created, some lasting beyond the day.

For confidentiality purposes I cannot publish any of the kids’ photos, but here are a few of the volunteers that contributed to making the day a memorable one for these kids who have endured far more than any of us would want for our own children (or any child).  My blog title is the answer one little girl gave to Santa when he asked her what she’d like for Christmas.

This is Jana who coordinated and organized the event. Awesome!

Officer Daniels proves you can’t be too big or too tough to sit on Santa’s lap!

Hug High ROTC and Cheer represent.

More awesome volunteers!

Just a few of the Spanish Springs High cheerleaders who participated.

McQueen High in the house as well (my daughter’s alma mater).

Everyone smiles when they sit on Santa’s lap!

Santa is a retired Reno Firefighter.

My elves acted as a well-oiled machine, getting kids names, guiding them to Santa, printing and handing out the 4×6″ photographs.

My Epson R2000 kept up very well, and turned out excellent photos for the kids.

If you would like to see more of the fantastic volunteers, click on this Gallery Link

Two more I must share. So many organizations help to make this a great event for the kids, but none more so that the Silver Legacy Casino. I wish I could have gotten photos of all the people from the Silver Legacy who participated but here are two who were working very hard to make sure everything stayed neat and tidy.


Edward (who also brought Santa some coffee).

And after photographing everyone else, I took my turn with Santa.


  1. This brought me near to tears. I wondered what the kids thought when they returned “home” and it was just like it was? What a wonderful thing you do, Carissa. I just love how your bright eyes shine.


  2. Such an important cause. How great that there were so many volunteers. It’s so sad to think about what many kids must go through. I’m glad some of them can experience some wonderful hours during Christmas thanks to you and all the other volunteers.


    • Thank you. I got recruited last year by the firefighter you see in the group shot. He likes to to landscape photography and had been tasked with doing the Santa shots in previous years but since portrait photography isn’t his thing, he asked me if I’d be willing to do it. I’m already on the short list (me only) for next year!


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