A Vintage Wildwood Christmas on the Santa Bus

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Donna Gomez on the Santa bus, 1960

Donna Gomez on the Santa bus, 1960


This photo was sent in by Donna Gomez taken on the Santa Bus in 1960, along with fond memories… “Some of my earliest and happiest memories are when my mom and my Aunt Louise (the cool aunt) would bundle me, my sister Judy and brother Joe to make our annual trip to downtown Wildwood to see Santa on the Christmas bus. In those days, Wildwood was a hub of activity. All of the shops in town were open for business, and the Christmas Bus was parked in the center of town. It was the quintessential small town, where everyone knew each other. Christmas joy would spread like wildfire, and the Santa bus was ground zero. There was usually a line of eager squealing children to get onto the bus. I remember taking the long walk to the back of the bus where Santa and the Mrs. awaited. It was a feeling I’ll never forget, a little bit of nervousness and a lot of excitement. Adding to the excitement, the local radio station, WCMC, would broadcast holiday music and some, if not all of the kids talking with Santa. These are some of my fondest childhood memories, and I’ll always cherish them.”
During this era, children waited in line at the memorable Santa Bus parked by the Marine Bank (now Crest Savings) at Wildwood & Pacific Avenues. It was the only place a child could see Santa & Mrs. Claus at Christmastime in Wildwood. Kids would receive a stocking full of goodies, along with special coupons and prizes from the shops along the avenue. “They were the best of times,” recalls Cecelia Cooper (on a reply on @sunbythesea) “I remember waiting in line to see Santa with my sisters. They would broadcast what you asked for on the microphone for all to hear outside the bus. It was ingenious marketing!”
Another social media follower John Clarke also agrees “Those were the days! Every year I had a Christmas Club savings account at Marine bank. Shopping on Pacific Ave with my $25.00 savings was a big deal!“

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