KWETHLUK, Alaska (AP) — Christmas came early in western Alaska this week when Santa and Mrs. Claus delivered presents to nearly 300 students in the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Kwethluk (KWEETH'-luck).
The visit was arranged by the Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus. The program started in 1956, and volunteers try to bring Santa, Mrs. Claus and gifts to several remote Alaska villages every year.
The students were mostly all smiles this week when they posed for pictures in the school gym with Santa before getting a present.
The students also got new backpacks with schools supplies, and even toothbrushes and floss to promote good dental care in western Alaska, where there are few dentists.
Organizers say it's important to bring Santa to these remote places to give children a little holiday joy.