It isn’t every day that you see Santa dressed in Levis and a Western shirt, but folks living in the Glenbrook neighborhood are celebrating the 25th anniversary of decorating for Christmas Texas-style.
The theme centers on a children’s book called The Night Before Christmas — in Texas, That Is, written by Leon Harris, who died in 2000.
Harris was an executive vice president at the former A. Harris & Co. department stores as well as a biographer and author.
The author, Leon Harris, wrote the poem in 15 minutes.
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Glenbrook celebrated the 25th anniversary Nov. 22 with hay rides and a proclamation from the city.
Holley Hendrickson, who has been involved in the fun since the beginning, said the Glenbrook Homeowners Association Christmas committee came up with the idea in 1990.
“We feel that there is something special about our neighborhood. We created this [the special Texas decorations] for our families and for our children,” she said.
The neighbors created storyboards of the poem, and visitors — sometimes including tour buses — often drive through to look at the holiday lights and wooden cutouts of cactuses, coyotes, stockings, hay bales and buckboards.
Harris wrote other biographies including a book on the writer and social reformer Upton Sinclair
The book, first published in 1952, tells the story of Santa, wearing his 10-gallon Stetson riding in his buckboard across the prairie, where, of course, there was no snow.
He approaches the cabin where Buddy and Sue are asleep and dreaming of Christmas.
An excerpt from the poem says, “As he stepped from the buckboard
“He was really a sight,
“With his beard and moustaches
“So curly and white.
“As he burst in the cabin
“The children awoke,
“And both so astonished
“That neither one spoke.
“And he filled up their boots
“With such presents galore
Jane Wolfe, Harris’ widow, said her husband wrote the poem in 15 minutes on scratch paper before heading to a holiday party and asked his employees to create a display based on the theme.
The poem was syndicated in newspapers and published in magazines including Time and Life. It was also published as a book, she said.
“It was a lot of fun for him, and the poem still sells well,” she said.
I think it is a wonderful thing that they do. People have told me that they won’t leave the neighborhood because it is such a close-knit community.
Harris’ widow, Jane Wolfe
Wolfe recalled how she and her husband learned about the decorations based on the poem and visited the neighborhood several times in the late 1990s. The also asked the neighborhood to create storyboards for them to use at their Highland Park home.
“I think it is a wonderful thing that they do. People have told me that they won’t leave the neighborhood because it is such a close-knit community,” Wolfe said.
If you go
See the decorations from 6 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 1. The neighborhood is at Cummings Street between Central and Forest Ridge. For more information, visit the Facebook page on.fb.me/1PgGye2.