fb-pixel

At age 2, Matthew Lopez isn’t exactly tall.

But his giant grin nearly wraps around his small noggin, and that smile is bracketed with dimples deep enough to hold a nickel.

Matthew beamed Sunday at the annual Christmas in the City celebration for more than 5,000 children and 1,500 parents who are homeless or in transitional housing, and he vibrated with enough excitement that his face was almost a blur.

“He’s always like this,” said Matthew’s laughing 9-year-old brother, Kevin, who added that the toddler’s favorite rides at the event’s Winter Wonderland section were the miniature boats and cars.

Children such as Matthew and Kevin have been meeting Santa Claus; devouring kid-favorite foods, such as chicken nuggets and mac and cheese; and receiving a gift of their own at Christmas in the City for 30 holiday seasons, thanks to organizers Sparky and Jake Kennedy and their phalanx of volunteers.

Advertisement



“Thirty years from now . . . I’ll still be running around with my little bells and whistles,” joked Sparky, who wore a festive vest and Santa hat at the event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. “I’ll be in my 90s, but that’s OK.”

Sherita Dawson’s 2-year-old daughter, Arianna, climbed off a swing ride and proclaimed it her favorite, but after her next adventure, she was likely to shift her loyalties, her mom said. “She loves everything, basically,” Dawson said.

On that count, mother and daughter agreed.

“It’s amazing,” Dawson said of the celebration. “The kids love it. I, as a parent, love it, too. You can see they put a lot of effort into it, to make everything great for the children.”

Boston, MA - 12/16/18 All 2-year-old Dion Millsap (cq) needed to make his day was a giant balloon from the table centerpiece. Christmas in the City Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 16christmas Reporter: Jeremy Fox
Boston, MA - 12/16/18 All 2-year-old Dion Millsap (cq) needed to make his day was a giant balloon from the table centerpiece. Christmas in the City Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 16christmas Reporter: Jeremy FoxPat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Volunteer Amanda Role Khadijah Thompson, 6, enjoyed Blue Man Group’s performance.
Volunteer Amanda Role Khadijah Thompson, 6, enjoyed Blue Man Group’s performance.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Boston, MA - 12/16/18 Julius Meunier (cq), 7, gushed that his ride on the Chair Swing was "good!" Christmas in the City Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 16christmas Reporter: Jeremy Fox
Boston, MA - 12/16/18 Julius Meunier (cq), 7, gushed that his ride on the Chair Swing was "good!" Christmas in the City Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 16christmas Reporter: Jeremy FoxThe Boston Globe

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.