Giving the gifts of a happy holiday season was the theme of the annual Share a Caring Christmas when it returned to the NYE Ford showroom in Oneida Saturday, Dec. 2.

With several local music groups, refreshments, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and even some fuzzy reindeer, plus the massive Christmas tree towering in the showroom with a pile of donated presents under it, guests enjoyed the chance to get into the festivities.

“You can’t help but feel the spirit of the holidays,” said event coordinator Kelly Karram while looking over the crowd of partiers.

“This is so nice,” said Charlotte Spaulding of Vernon as she introduced nine-month-old grandson William Joslyn to the pair of goats dressed as reindeer. “I love seeing all of the people, and I love the music.”

Entertainment during the three-hour event featured Fritz’s Polka Band; the St. Patrick’s School Choir; Anne Wieder; Mrs. Claus and her Puppet Friends; the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School Vocal and String Ensembles and Instrumental Group; the Chittenango Brass Quintet, Chamber Orchestra, and Select Choir; and the DeRuyter High School Chorus and Band.

VVS orchestra teacher Alex Paige said not only was Share a Caring Christmas an “awesome event for the community,” but it gave an outlet for local students to share their own talents with the public.

“They can never have enough public performances,” she said.

But meanwhile, the need for the event was also very much evident. Karing Kitchen Director Melissa King, who helped organize the collection and distribution, said they were expecting to serve more than 500 families through the toy drive this year. Karram said when the Share a Caring Christmas event started 34 years ago there were only some 50 families receiving gifts, and it was NYE employees who delivered them on Christmas Eve.

The need continues to grow, and Share a Caring Christmas continues to make the morning a bit brighter for needy children.

“People don’t realize the importance of this event for all of the people who have nothing,” Karram said. “There are never enough toys to go around.”

Bruce Burke from the Oneida Public Access television channel PAC 99 recorded the event and said it would be shown during the following week. To view a photo album from Share a Caring Christmas, find Mike Jaquays on Facebook.