Story behind the lights: Gingerbread-inspired display lights up McGregor in more ways than one

A Gingerbread-inspired home in McGregor is lighting up children’s faces this Christmas.
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 12:53 PM CST
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MCGREGOR, Texas (KWTX) - A Gingerbread-inspired home in McGregor is lighting up children’s faces this Christmas by including them in the creation of the display and featuring a letters to Santa mailbox with a guarantee of a reply and a gift on children’s list.

“This is a stop for the mailbox, and they can physically mail, and the letters will get delivered to Santa,” Christy Leos, the creator of the light display and “Executive Elf Member,” said. “The team and the ‘Executive Elf Office,’...will come and retrieve the mail, and they’ll deliver it to Santa’s desk.”

Leos started the display when she moved back to her home where she grew up in McGregor.

“Not many people get to...come back to their childhood home,” she said. “We’ve had it for about 60 years, so it’s a home that’s got a lot of history and great memories.”

A memory she said she holds close to her heart is when she would see the lights on Main St. in McGregor during the holidays, so, when she moved back, she wanted to bring that same nostalgic feeling to the community.

“To return here and be able to give back to the children the childhood memories I grew up with means everything, and kids need something to smile about,” Leos said.

Inspired by her gingerbread stuffed animals she had when she was a little girl, she transformed the home into a gingerbread house.

From the front of the home to the sidewalk, she said she wanted to make the display immersive and interactive for children of all ages, so she welcomes children to paint gingerbread cutouts and place them in the yard. The life-sized gingerbread playhouse in the front yard also has opportunities for children to decorate.

“Instead of it being 100% done, the children can partake in it, so there’s a lot of little components that they will be able to start to put,” Leos said.

She said, while the display is pretty to look at in the car, visitors can walk through “Candy Cane Lane” to see the nutcrackers, reindeer and of course Santa Clause up close. There are also many picture opportunities along the way.

However, before kids leave the display, Leos recommends dropping off a letter to Santa in the mailbox because she said Santa is likely to reply.

“The letter will get returned and delivered back anywhere...from midnight to Christmas Day, so that when they wake up the next morning, they have their reply from Santa,” Leos said.

So far, the stop on 6th St. has received over 100 letters, compared to about 50 last year, but she encourages children to come by and drop off a letter before Dec. 23.

Leos said parents can make sure their child’s letter gets to Santa by checking the Facebook page, Letters to Santa North Pole Stop on 6th. There are also some ways to help Santa with deliveries and gifts.

Leos also said that the elves specialize in toy building and not as advanced for technological gifts.

There will be a few days before Christmas when children can stop by and decorate the display as well.