NEBRASKA CITY – The Morton-James Public Library event this weekend offered crafts, cocoa and cookie decorating, as well as the gift giving inspiration of Nicholas Cody.

It started when Cody was a teacher at  pre-school. He bought 100 small gifts, hauled them into the preschool in a burlap sack and let kids dig in.

Cody: “I had a little bit of extra money and I wanted to do something special for the kids. So I got them all toys and I brought them and I just remembered how good that felt to bring them all toys.”

The next year, he wanted to do it again, but didn’t have the money. He started asking people around town for donations and began hand-delivering toys.


Cody: “It grew and grew every year until the last year I did it I think I delivered to 120-some houses.”

From there, he reached out to the library to have Santa Claus for a photo session and recruited a friend to run the cookie-decorating station. Volunteers gave the cookie decorating skills a mix review.

Girls: “Some of it have what it takes, some of them don’t. Some of them just eat the frosting.”

Is that against rules here at Winterpalooza, just eat the frosting? No.”

Cody said he sees why Santa Claus has stayed with the gift-giving for so many years.

Cody: “It’s just seeing the community come in, seeing how much the kids love it … showing kids that people around them will do something special for them, making something memorable for them to go to every year. It’s just that they’ll get something and the people around them care.”

Library Youth Services Manager  Amanda Winkler reports a record-setting year for attendance at 433.