Every December, Sue and Fred Medico happily turn into Santa and Mrs. Claus to spread holiday cheer at a variety of public appearances. Their annual stroll together in the Purcellville Christmas Parade is cherished by young and old alike.
But their Christmas spirit doesn’t dim when they take off those costumes. And it doesn’t shine only in December.
All year long the Medicos collect and buy toys to be distributed to children who might not have much to unwrap on Christmas morning.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Medicos and a dozen “Christmas elves” took over the tasting room of Twin Oaks Winery in Bluemont to wrap hundreds of toys. For close to four hours, the tasting room looked more like Santa’s workshop, with volunteers preparing dolls, skateboards, basketballs and other toys for local boys and girls. The Santa and Mrs. Claus-look-alikes kept their busy helpers stocked with gift wrap, bows and tape.
“This is probably the 10th year we’ve done it,” Fred Medico said of the enterprise.
On Sunday, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be carried on a fire truck to the North 16th Street apartment complex. The elves will come behind with trailers filled with toys to be distributed on the spot.
Medicos say the elves are a mix of friends, people they’ve met through the wrapping campaign and volunteers who work with the Purcellville Police Department.
She and her husband often get the accolades for the gift giving, but Sue Medico said it really is a communitywide effort.
“We’re just a minute part of this. If it weren’t for the volunteers, we definitely couldn’t do this,” she said. “For all of us, it is about showing love, blessing others and giving to those who don’t have the means.”
Fred Medico noted one very special elf—Shannon, who every year goes to all the sales she can find to buy the toys and donates them to the effort. When it is time for wrapping, the Medicos’ truck bed is filled to the brim with toys. “She’s fabulous,” he said.
Laurie Carlyle, of Carlyle and Anderson, has lent a hand for several years. The first time she put out a donation box, with the message “Give Joy with a Toy.” The second year she asked other businesses to donate.
Mother and daughter Nancy and Laura Walsh, of Purcellville Shell on West Main Street, help out by donating wrapping paper and ribbon, as does the Blue Ridge Hospice thrift store.
The Medicos also collected gloves, scarves and hats that will be given out Sunday. They’ll be back at it on Wednesday, when they will deliver food baskets to 30 homebound families in Purcellville.