Waiting outside the ordinary looking house were newcomers and return visitors – all holding a breath of excitement as to what awaited them inside. As they looked all around the entrance for a clue to this year’s theme, Janie Minten began her welcome to The Christmas House in Falfurrias.
Each year for the past 27 years, the three Minten sisters – Janie, Esther and Dorothy – have opened their home to the public, which also happens to be the home of their youth.
Why, one might ask, would anybody want to do that for about seven months every season?
There’s a simple answer. It’s all about Christmas! Growing up in a loving home with parents they cherished and who cherished them, Christmas was always made to be a special holiday to them. This becomes quite obvious as those in the tours come face-to-face with childhood dolls, toys and a very special bear.
As the group is led from room to room, a sister tells tales of life on their ranch in south Texas back in the 1930s and ‘40s, time slows to a stop, peace floats down and the world of make believe enfolds the guests. Sparkling lights and tiny villages come to life as happy memories are created and the true meaning of Christmas comes alive.
What better place to go that can encompass all of that? Truly passionate about Christmas, The Christmas House and Santa’s Texas Workshop are open this season from September until April 6th. Sometime during the season they’ll begin thinking of the next year, planning how they can surprise and amaze their visitors for the next season. First they’ll check their stock of Christmas décor before they head off to market to find just the perfect items to fit their new theme.
One thing is for certain – there is always loads of sparkle, thought given, laughter and especially loads of love put into their carefully laid out designs.
Starting it as a hobby when they were all still teaching, a friend convinced them to go public in 1986. Today, the retired teachers are anything but retired, giving two tours most days and waiting patiently for their guests as, after the tour, they wander the Christmas store in the house that was first on the ranch.
Not only do the Minten sisters have the Christmas spirit in their home, they live the Christmas spirit all year long. Over the 27 years, they have given hundreds of thousands of dollars first to The Children’s Heart and Health Institute and now to the Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Cardiology Department. Besides their own donations, family members and friends leave donations in a basket and the sisters give $1 from each admission fee – entry is $8 per person. They also give all the funds collected on their antique pump organ. Now that’s another story in itself.
The Christmas House in Falfurrias is one of the must see events during the season. Arriving full of curiosity and anticipation, visitors leave full of peace and good cheer for the season – perfect emotions to carry throughout the year. Oh yes, one little hint – don’t forget to look for the pickle!
For more information and reservations call 800-276-4339 or 361-325-2068. Reservations are required and the sisters will provide directions when you call.