A third-grade student at Tamaqua Elementary School will reign over the Tamaqua Spirit of Christmas Festival.

Callista Fannock, daughter of Tony and Shannon Fannock, Tamaqua, was selected to wear the crown for the 2012 holiday extravaganza that kicks off Friday.

Fannock received her tiara and banner at a ceremony Wednesday evening at the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce.

According to Judy Hoppes, chairwoman, Little Miss Spirit of Christmas competition, balloting took place during the period of November 13 -23 at Wells Fargo Bank, Tamaqua.

Fourteen girls in third through fifth grades in the Tamaqua Area School District participated in the contest, competing for the yuletide honor. Each girl submitted a short essay explaining "What the Spirit of Christmas Means to Me." The essays were on display along with the girls' photographs during the two-week period of balloting.

Little Miss Spirit will participate in activities slated during the Spirit of Christmas Festival, November 30 -December 2. In addition, each participant in the contest will take part in the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce Arrival of Santa Parade on Friday beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Fannock wrote "To me the Spirit of Christmas is something that you feel in your heart! It is about love, celebration, and sharing with others. Happy Holidays 2012."

Fannock has a younger sister, Cadence.

Other participants, listed alphabetically, and their essays are as follows:

Emilee Albert, Tamaqua Elementary - "Christmas is not about presents, it is about giving to those in need so it is not about getting it is about giving. Christmas is also about spending time with your family. Some people don't have all their family and can't afford Christmas. So I'm thankful for all that I have including my family. The Spirit of Christmas means to me to give not to get and spending time with the ones I love."

Alexis Bauder, West Penn Elementary - "The Spirit of Christmas is about spending time with family and giving to people in need. It is not about the gifts."

Makenna Carroll, Tamaqua Elementary - "The Spirit of Christmas means to me beautiful lights and decorations. People Christmas caroling and a big Christmas dinner. And that is the best way to celebrate Jesus' birthday."

Cheyenne Edmonds, Tamaqua Elementary - "It is the time to give. Help people that don't have a lot. Also to be with family and friends. Making cookies with my family too."

Rachel Hinkle, Tamaqua Elementary - "What Christmas means to me is drinking hot cocoa, playing in the snow, opening presents, and celebrating Christ's birthday, that's what Christmas means to me."

Deanna Kowalski, West Penn Elementary - "What Christmas Spirit means to me. The Christmas season outshines all the rest. By bringing out in people their very best. And by reminding them we are all truly blessed."

Aurora Kranch, Tamaqua Elementary - "The Spirit of Christmas. To me, Christmas means we should praise God for giving Jesus to save us from our sins. This is the true spirit of Christmas."

Madison Phillips, Tamaqua Elementary - "What Christmas Spirit Means to Me: is seeing all the children smile on Christmas day when they see what Santa left under the tree. It makes me happy to see all the other children happy too. I think Santa is the best. I love Santa."

Alexis Scott, Tamaqua Elementary - "What Christmas Means to me. Christmas to me is a day to gather with friends and family and celebrate the day Christ was born. Also a day to put people before you."

Mackenzie Scott, Tamaqua Elementary - "What Christmas Means to me. Christmas is a time to feel a spirit of joy and peace. It is a time to connect and feel especially close and thankful for family. It is a cozy time."

Meagan Sweeney, West Penn Elementary - "This is what Christmas means to me, it means being joyful and spending time with your family like baking cookies, decorating the tree, wrapping presents, playing in the snow and being happy."

Rylee Wenzel, Tamaqua Elementary - "What the Spirit of Christmas Means to Me. The Spirit of Christmas is the birthday of Jesus. It is also a time of getting together with my family and spreading his love."

Tiffany Wetherell, Tamaqua Elementary - "The Spirit of Christmas is about being with your family and celebrating Jesus' birthday. Helping people who do not have as much as I have, making other people happy and smile, to me is the real meaning of the Spirit of Christmas."

For more information on the Spirit of Christmas Festival, contact the Downtown Tamaqua Office at (570) 668-6899.