Kente Santa

Want your kids to get a different version of Christmas? One whose emphasis isn’t on getting gifts, but giving them? Then you need Kente Santa.

Kente Santa is an Afrocentric version of the department store Santa who takes photos with your kids. This Santa, however, is decked out in Kente cloth and cowrie shells. And while, yes, kids can sit on his lap and give him their wish list, the conversation doesn’t end there. Kente Santa asks kids not only what they want to receive, but what they plan to give this holiday.

“That’s all we ever hear, ‘gimme, gimme, gimme!’ And it seems that we’re missing the true meaning of Christmas,” says Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center and Bookstore manager Anika Sala. “We wanted to do something that would help kids learn Christmas is about more than just getting presents.”

Don’t worry if your kids don’t have any ideas about what to give — Kente Santa has a list of suggestions ready to hand out. “Kids can give the gift of assistance, they can give kind words of encouragement or give a smile,” says Sala. “It’s not about presents; it’s about giving of yourself.”

Kids will get cookies, apple cider and peppermints while they wait in line to take their photo with Kente Santa. 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. today and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. tomorrow. 5309 Martin Luther King Boulevard. For information, call 713-645-1071 or visit The visit with Kente Santa is free; photos are $5.
Sat., Dec. 15, 12:30-5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 12:30-5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 1:30-3:30 p.m., 2007

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