Peace on earth,
good will toward men.
Words by Jan Brand
The spirit of Christmas that fills the town with joy and laughter is like the sound of bells on Christmas morning.
On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen…
Santa whooshed through the black velvet sky making his faster-than-the-speed-of-light Christmas Eve run when he looked down on Granbury, Texas. “Whoa, Rudolph!”
Historic Square | Granbury, Texas
Mural paintings by artist, Clifford Page.
Photograph by Shad Ramsey
It had been a long night, and his old bones were achy. He wished to be home with Mrs. Claus enjoying a good cup of hot chocolate, but something below caught his attention. A spirit of good cheer hung over the city like star glow. He slowed the sleigh and swished down for a closer look. Tiny lights twinkled on the square. People stopped and wished each other a blessed and happy Christmas. What he saw made his bones hurt less and a warm feeling permeated his tired, cold body. He couldn’t wait to get back to the North Pole and talk to Mrs. Claus. Santa had a plan.
A spirit of good cheer hung over the city like star glow.
After a long night of delivering the things on the wish list of children around the world, Santa trudged home to the North Pole. He slumped into a chair at the kitchen table. “Mrs. Claus, it’s time for a change. We’re not as young as we used to be, and the cold is affecting my achy joints. A hundred years is long enough to live in one place. I think I like Texas. It’s warm, the people are friendly and you should see the decorations of Granbury. People have come from all over. The spirit of Christmas that fills the town with joy and laughter is like the sound of bells on Christmas morning. Let’s move.”
Mrs. Claus set a steaming mug of chocolate before Santa and settled in the chair across the table. “Nick, I have friends in Granbury, the Hollands. Arlis reminds me of a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower, dusting her wings with pollen at one and depositing it on the next bloom. She fills the space around her with joy and spreads it like fairy dust. And you’d like Ken. His heart’s as big as the state of Texas. Like you, he just wants to see goodness spread as far as he can reach,” Mrs. Claus explained, “I’ll give them a call and see what I can find out about Granbury.”
Santa shut his eyes and nodded off for a long winter nap. When he awoke, Mrs. Claus smiled and gave him good news. “I talked with Ken and Arlis and they’re thrilled that we would consider relocation of the toy shop and elves to Texas. Ken said they’d run it by the Granbury Historical Merchants’ Association and the Hood County Commissioners. Arlis wants to know what size Stetsons and boots the elves wear!”
Santa chuckled. “I told you this was just the place we could live and find kindred spirits. Let’s start to pack as soon as everyone has recovered from the holiday rush.”
They found the perfect location for Santa’s House on the Granbury Square right behind the Hood County Courthouse. Santa wanted only the best craftsmen for the new Santa’s House, so Mrs. Santa Claus called longtime friend Clifford Page, from Kentucky, to help them. Clifford had the artistic talent needed to create a place of wonder and awe for the little ones, and for those who only felt young again at Christmas. He dropped his current project and hurried to Granbury to make a home for Santa.
Ken Holland used his engineering skills to design the structure, a total of 32 large panels. Clifford started work on the art layout with colorful murals depicting a child’s fantasy of Christmas. Elves scurried to tote and fetch the materials needed for the project. Arlis did what she does best, cheering everyone on and keeping the coffee pot filled while workers burned the midnight oil to get Santa’s Workshop finished on time.
After weeks of hard work, Santa’s Workshop was ready. Mr. and Mrs. Santa took one last nostalgic look around the North Pole home that had served them well. The elves stood around the convoy of loaded trucks ready to carry precious cargo to their new Texas home.
The night after Thanksgiving the big Christmas parade found its way to the Square. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived on a red antique fire truck at the end of the parade. Families and little children lined the streets, their eyes shining with delight as Santa and Mrs. Claus stepped down to meet the folks. An occasional, “Ho-Ho-Ho!” could be heard above the excited squeals of wide-eyed little ones.
Carolers roamed the streets singing. A violinist played tunes of the season, and living Christmas trees lined the square with live actors telling the story of Christmas. Merchants served hot chocolate for the revelers.
Santa and Mrs. Claus shook hands and chatted with the crowd. Photographer Shad Ramsey volunteered to provide professional pictures, while cell phones and cameras clicked in the hands of excited parents.
Santa’s House is cozy and filled with charm, complete with a fireplace, Christmas tree and a bookcase. The walls provide a panoply of Clifford’s paintings. This place is filled with the heart of Christmas—the love for people everywhere.
For everyone except Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is our favorite time of year. And Granbury celebrates with gusto, with Santa’s help.
At midnight, the streets were empty and Santa’s House was locked up tight for another year. Children were nestled all snug in bed, waiting for the moment they had waited for all year. Tonight, the jolly fat man in a red suit has reached into the heart of hope in the youngest toddler and the eldest grandparent, but now it was time to ride. Santa packed the sleigh and harnessed Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet, Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen. He tied red cowboy bandanas around the reindeer necks. After all, they were Texans now.
As the sleigh climbed into the starry sky, Santa reflected on the night, the sense of community, all the sharing, the giving, and the many acts of kindness. A star hanging over a stable in Bethlehem that first Christmas brought a message that resonated down the corridors of time, “Peace on earth, good will toward men,” Santa sighed. There was still hope the world would get it right.
From all of us, to all of you, have a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year.