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By Andrea Papagianis

There’s still time to make a Christmas donation as Orange County collects gifts for children in foster care, and elderly and disabled adults through Thursday, December 19.

Santa Claus gets a big hug from Gavin Petin, 4, at the Dana Point Harbor last year. Photo by Andrea Swayne
Santa Claus gets a big hug from Gavin Petin, 4, at the Dana Point Harbor last year. Photo by Andrea Swayne

Each year, volunteers collect toys and gifts through Operation Santa Claus to give foster children and adults under the care of county agencies a holiday surprise. An estimated 42,000 gifts are handed out each holiday season. The county is asking residents to add one more gift to their holiday shopping lists this year.

Unwrapped toys and gifts for children, teens and seniors can be dropped off at various Dana Point Harbor locations, including the OC Sailing and Events Center, 34451 Ensenada Place; Coffee Importers, 34531 Golden Lantern Street; Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, 34675 Golden Lantern Street and the Dana Point Marina Inn, 24800 Dana Point Harbor Drive.

Leading up to his busiest day of the year, Saint Nicholas himself will also make stops at the Harbor to finalize his naughty-and-nice-list. Swing by, bring the camera and say “Hello” to the holly, jolly Christmas figure. Santa will be in the courtyard near Dana Wharf on Thursday, December 19.

Pets love gifts from Santa Claus too, and the Pet Project Foundation knows it. For a $15 donation, four-legged creatures, or those who fly and slither can have their picture taken with the man in red Saturday, December 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All funds raised benefit the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter. Learn more at

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