For generations, Tri-State children would walk from window to window at Shillito’s Department store in downtown Cincinnati, peering inside to get a glimpse of Santa’s elves as they worked to get toys ready for Christmas. If they were lucky, they’d get to go inside the store and see more elves working, playing or getting into a bit of trouble.
By 1983, the elves disappeared, marking the end of a 30-year Cincinnati holiday tradition. The elves moved any times and today, 12 scenes featuring 75 moving elves have found a home in the heart of Mariemont at Santa’s Workshop featuring the Shillito Elves.
Each vignette features a scene of elves in their North Pole workshop helping Santa build toys to deliver on Christmas Eve. The story begins with children dropping off their letters to Santa in an oversized mailbox and ends where Santa’s sleigh is loaded with toys to deliver on Christmas Eve. Many of the original letters sent to Santa in the 1980’s are still preserved today.
The display is perfect for Tri-State families, taking an average of approximately 30 minutes to view. Visitors are permitted to go through the display as many times as they would like in their visit.
The National Exemplar is partnering with Santa’s Workshop to bring Hot Chocolate Tuesdays, where families can enjoy complimentary hot chocolate as they visit the display, and Date Night Thursday, complete with half price bottles of wine and specials on pastas and desserts when showing tickets from Santa’s Workshop.
Several Mariemont restaurants are offering guests a 20 percent discount when showing their receipt or ticket, including The National Exemplar, LaRosa’s Mariemont and Dilly Bistro, Bar & Bottle Shop.
The workshop is located at 6940 Madisonville Rd., directly across from the Mariemont Inn. Santa’s Workshop is open for visitors through December 31. Hours are 2-8 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; and closed Christmas day. There will be extended hours the week of Christmas. Admission is $4. Children three and under are admitted for free (one free child for one paying adult). Easy-to-use forms to create letters to Santa can be downloaded at facebook.com/TheSantaWorkshop.
For more information about Santa’s Workshop call 513-620-4ELF or visit www.thesantaworkshop.com.