NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ –The North Plainfield Giving Nest Preschool and Kindergarten held its annual Family Holiday Fun Morning on Dec. 10 and this year’s event, which was held in the auditorium of St. Luke’s Church, featured holiday songs, refreshments and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus and some of their very special friends.

“This event is a family favorite! During a busy time of year, it allows families to just be together for an hour,” said Mary Sue Frank, who, along with Debbie Hannon, founded the North Plainfield Giving Nest 26 years ago. “To me, this is what the holidays are all about: family, gratitude, kindness and giving.”

The program was held in two sessions, with the Chickadee and Duckling classes attending from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and the Bluebird, Cardinal and Kindergarten classes taking part from 11 a.m. to noon. Each session included sing-a-longs of holiday favorites, including Santa Claus is Coming to Town. As students, family members, and Giving Nest staff belted out ‘you better watch out,’ Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus made their entrance. Those in attendance then sang Must Be Santa as the special guests made their way to the stage.

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“Santa then told the families that he had a very special visitor – his very good friend of Rudolf – and in came Santa’s helper the elf with Shilo, the Great Dane,” said Frank. “While Shilo wants to join the reindeer on Christmas Eve, he hasn't yet mastered flying but he can jump and showed the children how he jumps in the air.”

According to Frank, Shilo is a 3-year-old, 135-pound service dog who often visits nursing homes and schools. “He truly is a ‘gentle giant’ who loves Santa. It was adorable to watch,” she said.

During the Family Holiday Sing event, students also had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, color pictures, and enjoy hot chocolate and baked goodies donated by Giving Nest families. Families attending the event were asked to donate canned goods, which will be donated to the North Plainfield Food Bank. Additionally, on display, were the gifts Frank was able to purchase for five Somerset County families in need this holiday season. A total of $1,177 was raised through generous ‘chore money’ donations from students at the North Plainfield, Bridgewater, Martinsville and Warren schools and used to buy clothing, shoes, toys and gift cards.


“Giving, family time and memories are so important to me. This one-hour of time during a busy time of year gives families the opportunity to just be with each other,” said Frank. “The families sit on blankets and cuddle with their children as we sing holiday songs. They sit together and enjoy hot chocolate with whipped cream and have a yummy baked good. They make a picture to give to Santa and they visually see how their generosity – the canned food and the presents their monetary donations went to purchase – helps families in need.”

About the Giving Nest Preschools

The Giving Nest Preschool and Kindergarten in North Plainfield at St. Luke’s Church opened its doors in September 1990. Today, the school offers a variety of half- and full-day Monday through Friday, Thursday/Thursday and Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes for children 2 1/2 to 5-years and full-day kindergarten along will early morning and late afternoon extended care services and age-appropriate enrichment classes.

There are also Giving Nest’s in Bridgewater, Martinsville, Warren, and Watchung. Bridgewater, Martinsville, and Watchung offer a variety of half- and full-day Monday through Friday, Thursday/Thursday and Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes for children 2 1/2 to 5-years along will early morning and late afternoon extended care services on as needed basis or permanent basis. North Plainfield and Martinsville offer full-day kindergarten while the Warren school offers full- and half-day programs for children 18- to 30-months. Additionally, several locations offer age-appropriate afternoon enrichment classes and, during the summer, themed summer camps are held in Warren and Watchung.

For enrollment information or to schedule a tour or learn more about the Giving Nest Preschool and Kindergarten, visit Prospective parents can also contact the school of their choice by calling the North Plainfield Giving Nest at (908) 754-2060; Watchung at (908) 222-1003; Martinsville at (732) 302-1321; Bridgewater at (908) 704-9555; or Warren at (732) 893-8222.

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