Santa Claus rode on a Nebraska City fire truck the morning of Christmas Eve to deliver gifts with fire and EMS elves to 55 children.

 Santa Claus joins NC fire and EMS on gift delivery

Santa Claus rode through the cold delivering gifts aboard a Nebraska City fire engine on the morning of Christmas Eve, but said the temperature outside was not much of a factor.

“When you see the kids it's like a bonfire warming your heart,” Claus said.

Emergency services delivered hundreds of gifts to 55 kids in 25 families, making 17 stops on the morning of Christmas Eve.

At one stop, Santa knocked on the door and was nearly knocked over when it flung open. Moments later he had a charging two-year-old in his arms.

Isabella's mother said the children were surprised and happy when she put the gifts under the Christmas tree for opening on Christmas.

Her 10-year-old brother said it has changed their anticipation for Christmas Day. “We are happy,” he said.

At another stop across town, four-year-old Cloie heard the sound of the fire engine siren approaching outside.

She peaked out the window to see Santa coming off of the fire truck.

“She ran to the door,” a family member said. “I gave him a hug,” Cloie added, holding up a gift she had received.

Santa sat on the couch and posed for photographs with two of the children.

“Thank you,” she said, when asked what her and Santa had talked about.

Cathy Blankenship, EMS Captain and co-captain elf with Becky Weakland at city hall, said the reaction of the families made all of the preparations worth while.

Fire and rescue announced the Christmas elf project in late October and had hundreds of gifts donated. FCCLA volunteers from Nebraska City High School wrapped the gifts.

EMS also sponsored a sock and mitten drive for delivery Nov. 15 to Dec. 6.