Carols, cookies, cocoa and community

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - When it come to holiday traditions at the Grand Canyon, nothing beats the annual Community Open House held at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center's Books and More store.

This year, the festive event will be held Dec. 5. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. and ends at approximately 8:30 p.m. It will feature a number of great attractions, including a visit from Santa, treats, deep discounts and a book signing with a range of well-known Grand Canyon authors.

Libby Schaaf said the event serves an important function in the Grand Canyon community. While many groups hold holiday events, the open house is open to everyone in the community.

"It's a broad community event," she said. "So, you might see people that you haven't seen in a long, long time just because your paths don't always cross."

Doors for the event will not open until 6:30 p.m. as workers close the store to prepare for the popular event.

The Grand Canyon Association (GCA) will offer a 30 percent discount for two hours, as well as cookies and hot cocoa, and a raffle with proceeds going to the Food Basket Program.

"That's a great deal because that is more than you get just as a Grand Canyon Association member," Schaaf said. "This is like the deep discount time where folks can do some holiday shopping for gifts for family or friends or buy that book that they've had their eye on. You can get some pretty good savings at 30 percent off. That's definitely a draw. And, get some of these books autographed, which makes for a really special kind of gift for somebody."

Across the plaza in the Visitor Center, Rangers will host fun activities for families.

Grand Canyon School students will sing in the recently opened theater, an extension of the main visitors center.

"A lot of the local public that hasn't seen that facility might be interested in that," Schaaf said.

Santa is scheduled to arrive at 7 p.m.

"That's actually a big thing for some of the kids because they don't actually get to see or visit with a Santa Claus," Schaaf said. "Sometimes there are opportunities in Flagstaff or Williams but here in our community this has become established as one neat opportunity for kids to go visit Santa Claus in person."

For more information on the event, visit the GCA online at www.grandcanyon.org

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