Canton-area family celebrates 37 years of Christmas photos with Santa Claus at Belden Village Mall

CANTON, Ohio - A tradition is built over years, and one Canton-area family is proving that this Christmas.

Thirty-seven years ago, Barb Himler brought her first daughter to the Santa Claus at Westfield Belden Village Mall for the annual Christmas photos. In the following years, she had two more daughters who then joined in for the traditional photo.

And the tradition has continued every year since.

“It is the highlight of my holiday season,” Himler said. “They know that. That’s why they do it for me.”

Sarah Cole, who is 29, said that she and her sisters have their own children now, and must get babysitters so they can come to the mall to get the Santa photos in front of mom.

“I’m glad that she’s happy, definitely,” said Rachel Miller, 27, who used to cry as a child when forced to take the pictures – not that that would stop mom.

“I just kept throwing them on Santa’s lap,” Himler joked.

The girls call the tradition a little silly, but they know what it means to their mother.

“I do it for my mother,” said Elizabeth Garaux, 36.

In fact, Himler said, if her house caught fire, she would grab her husband, her dog, and the Santa photos.

“Just to watch them growing up, I guess,” Himler said. “I look at every picture and I see how different they are, and I remember what they were at that time, their personalities and everything, and just getting as together as a family and being together.”

[Watch the attached video, with reporter Tracy Carloss, to see the Himler’s story and years of Santa photos.]

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