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Young, old follow Christmas traditions

A few shed some tears. But many more smiled. And while nearly all of the people visiting Santa Claus in the Sears court on the lower level of Towne East Square on Saturday morning were 10 or younger, that didn't stop some adults from getting one-on-one time with him.

Ami Montgomery, the mother of 10-year-old Amber, posed for a picture with her daughter while Amber rattled off her Christmas wish list: an iPod Nano and a Wii.

Rhonda Cox, Santa's helper and an employee of Noerr Programs, the Arvada, Colo.-based company that puts on the Santa events at malls in 35 states, said 246 children and adults came through on Friday.

That number is what she expected to see on Black Friday, Cox said.

"We hope to be almost as busy today," she said.

This is Cox's sixth year working as Santa's helper.

"It's the funnest job ever," she said.

Lori Jorgensen brought son Timothy, 8, because it's a tradition.

"We have to get the picture and everything," Jorgensen said.

Timothy's list consisted of Nerf guns, Legos and video games.

Lendon Phillips Jr. only wanted one toy.

"I want Spiderman... since I have a movie of it," the 5-year-old said.

When Lendon sat on Santa's lap, the first thing he did was pull on Santa's beard.

"Look at that," said his dad, Lendon Phillips Sr. "Stop tugging at Santa's beard."

Four-year-old Conner Peck — who after his first visit with Santa last year was set on seeing him again — apparently hadn't made up his mind about what to ask for.

"I want Santa to pick it out for me," Conner said.

But Conner's twin sister, Jordan, won't have anything to do with Santa.

She sat in a stroller while her brother sat on Santa's lap and was photographed.

"She's scared to death of Santa," said her dad, Roger Peck. "If I rolled the stroller over there she'd throw a fit."

It was clear Santa made an impression on 4-year-old Madelyn Stowell.

She was all smiles when she climbed up on Santa's lap. She wanted Barbies and Zhu Zhu hamsters.

"I'm surprised," said her dad, Travis. "Last year we were a little on the fence" about visiting Santa.

There were no smiles for Madelyn's 12-month-old brother, Max. He broke out into a wail seconds after sitting on Santa's lap.

About 15 minutes later, Madelyn and her family passed by Santa's booth.

She stopped, looked at Santa and blew him a kiss.

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