Tamaqua's Mia Jones is the town's Little Miss Spirit of Christmas.

Judy Hoppes, Spirit of Christmas committee member, explained that balloting for Tamaqua 2013 Little Miss Spirit of Christmas took place during the period of Nov. 12-22 at the Wells Fargo Bank in Tamaqua.

"Twelve girls in third through fifth grades in Tamaqua Elementary and St. Jerome Regional Schools participated in the contest," Hoppes said. "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. The essay contest has been held since 1997.

Mia, a third grader at Tamaqua Elementary School, is the daughter of Matt Jones and Jennifer Paisley, Tamaqua. She said she put her essay on scrapbook paper and decorated it with stickers and glitter. Mia's sister, Madeline, was the Little Miss Spirit of Christmas two years ago.

Mia and the other Little Miss Spirit contestants will participate in the activities slated during the Spirit of Christmas Festival, Dec. 5-8. Each contestant will participate in the Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce Santa Parade on Friday beginning at 6 p.m. Mia will walk with Frosty the Snowman and also accompany Santa at the Santa breakfast.

In her essay, Mia wrote "Christmas is about spending time with family members. My favorite part is eating dinner. It isn't about the presents, I'll tell you that."

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

Ÿ Madison Baddick, St. Jerome Regional School. "The Spirit of Christmas is about Jesus, family and Christmas trees. I enjoy having fun with my family over the holidays. Merry Christmas!"

Ÿ Makenna Carroll, Tamaqua Elementary. "What Christmas means to me is celebrating Jesus birthday. It's not about presents or Santa. It's about Jesus birthday and spending time with family."

Amber Cords, Tamaqua Elementary. "Christmas means a lot to me because it celebrates Jesus birthday. He taught us to treat others with kindness and help others in need."

Cheyenne Edmonds, Tamaqua Elementary. "What the Spirit of Christmas means to me. Being with family and friends and giving. Helping others and giving gifts to kids that don't get gifts."

Trinity Edmonds, Tamaqua Elementary. "What the Spirit of Christmas means to me. Being with family and friends at the holiday, getting gifts under the tree and on the floor, helping others in need."

Emily Hunsicker, Tamaqua Elementary. "Christmas is a special holy day because it is Jesus birthday. Christmas is a time to share love with others."

Courtney Loar, Tamaqua Elementary. "I like when I give gifts to people. I feel bad for the people who can't afford gifts for their families. In December my dad and I bake cookies before Christmas. I pray for my grandmother and grandfather. I wish they were here with me on that night. I like when my mom and dad take me sleigh riding when it snows and me and my family watch Christmas movies. The last thing I like to do is sit around the tree and hand gifts to family and friends."

Morgan Miller, St. Jerome Regional School. "The Spirit of Christmas means spending time with my family. I visit my Nana Rose in the nursing home and eat ice cream with her. My family donates to Toys For Tots so other children can have a good Christmas. We also gather together and eat lots of good food. Christmas is also a time to celebrate Jesus birthday. I hope every little kid has fun on Christmas."

Joselyn Tamagini, Tamaqua Elementary. "The Spirit of Christmas is about spending time with family and friends. It is also about celebrating Jesus birthday and sharing presents with people we love."

Leah Turner, Tamaqua Elementary. "What the Spirit of Christmas means to me spending time with family and celebrating Jesus birth while drinking hot cocoa and watching magical flurries fall. It is a time for giving and helping others."

Rylee Wenzel, Tamaqua Elementary. "What the Spirit of Christmas means to me is the birth of Jesus. It also means spending time with friends and family."

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