Christmas comes early for Bartow preschoolers

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Christmas came early for a group of little ones in Polk County on Monday.

They were taken from Gibbons Street Preschool Center and taken to the Bartow Civic Center where they thought they were going to sing Christmas carols for their parents.

It all changed when Santa strolled in. One by one, the kids sat on his lap, and got a present. Then a second. And then a third.

The kids got something they asked for on their Christmas list, clothes and toys.

“Does this get you off the hook for Christmas?”

I asked Mirian Garret’s mom.

“I think she wanted a big dollhouse, but she is happy to receive this,” said Callesha Neloms, referring to a pile of unwrapped gifts around her daughter.

Honesty Jackson’s haul was just as big.

“I am very excited because I am a four-time grandmother, and so this helps me a lot,” said her grandmother, Michelle Hardee.

Then came the big surprise, when Santa gave the command, the curtains on the stage opened to reveal a new bicycle for every child there.

Kids began screaming for joy.

The gifts were purchased with money donated by staff members of the Polk County School District.

“We do cake and pastry sales,” explained Polk Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.

And the result is a sweet holiday for kids who might not otherwise have one.