Others only recently heard of the North Pole and its elaborate display of lights and animated figures.
Simon Delgado remembers visiting the home in the High Country Estates when he was just a boy.
This past week, he brought his two youngsters to see it before it closes New Year’s Eve—this time for good.
“It is time to show the little ones,” he simply said.
The North Pole, a labor of love for the Jones family, began 35 years ago in front of their home located on Chaparral Trail off Farm-to-Market Road 2824.
With an estimated 50,000 lights and 30 animatronic displays, this home is a tourist attraction for people from throughout the area.
But it actually began not for this purpose but to bring a smile to the face of Jimmy, the son of Ron Jones, who was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy.
He was unable to walk and talk but communicated primarily with his eyes—which is why he loved the twinkle of Christmas lights.
“He had a life expectancy of eight years,” Ron said.
Jimmy beat the odds though—as much as he could.
He died in 2001 at the age of 30.
Ron says he knows Jimmy wouldn’t want him to shut it down.
“He is still up there,” Ron said looking towards the twinkling night sky.
“He would say, ‘Don’t shut it down.’”
It takes more than 1,000 man-hours to put up the display, and that is becoming too much for Ron, who was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the rest of the Jones family.
“It is going to be rough next year. We are going to miss it,” Ron says.
The family hopes to make it to San Antonio to see the River Walk lights.
“We have never been able to do that,” he said. “We have always been here,” Ron said.
Ultimately, everything will be sold.
There are a few pieces that Ron and family plan to keep.
One is a swinging Santa. “That was Jimmy’s favorite,” he said.
Touring the display, Ron points out that most people don’t see all the little pieces.
Tucked beneath two seesawing Ewoks is a metal pipe with a piece of cheese at the end.
“Do you see the mouse?” Ron asks.
“Look again,” he says a second later as the mouse pokes its head out of the hole again.
Some things draw more attention.
A young girl could be heard squealing as she ran to her mother.
“Look over there,” she proclaims loudly. “There are teddy bears watching TV.”
Hailey Biggerstaff was barely able to contain herself as she jumped with glee and excitedly dragged her mother down each of the paths—multiple times.
“It is sad to see it closing,” Nicole, her mother, said. “It is amazing.”
Jaxson Cruz probably won’t even remember coming to see the lights.
But his mother will always have the photo of him on the lap of Santa to remember her 6 1/2-month-old son’s first, and last, visit to the Pole.
Ron smiles as he watches the children and adults meander along the paths.
“It was worth it to see the smiles on the faces of the children and the grown-ups,” he said.
“I guess I am just a little kid at heart.”
A man standing nearby utters a bit of advice: “Don’t ever grow up.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.