Though his official arrival is still weeks away, Santa has already made an appearance in Mint Hill's Ashe Plantation, thanks to residents Sharon and Don Decker and their 7-year-old friend Casey Scott.
Last weekend, the Deckers opened their home for friends, neighbors and anyone who wanted to drop by to visit Santa, who arrived courtesy of a Mint Hill Fire Department truck. Visitors were also invited to view two rooms filled with model trains that Casey and Don Decker worked on all year. All the couple asked was a small toy and canned good in return.
Sharon Decker says hundreds stopped by to see Santa and the train display. They collected two pickup trucks full of food for the Matthews Help Center pantry and a truckload of toys for Salvation Army's Center of Hope.
"I grew up in a foster family and I know what it's like not to have food or a toy at Christmas. God has just blessed us so much, we just have to give back," she said.