The Heritage House Museum will present its 37th Annual Christmas with Santa open house event from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 9, and Thursday, Dec. 10. The event is free and open to the public. Photo courtesy of Heritage House Museum.

By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

ORANGE — Santa Claus is coming to town, and a local organization is providing area children with an opportunity to make last minute changes to those Christmas lists.

The Heritage House Museum, located at 905 W. Division St. in downtown Orange, will hold its 37th annual “Christmas with Santa” open house event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 9, and Thursday, Dec. 10.

The event has taken place for many, many years and has become a tradition for many residents in the Orange area, according to Leslie Williams, president of the Heritage House Museum Board of Directors.

“My mom (Elizabeth Williams) helped found the Heritage House, and I remember bringing my children here when they were young,” Williams said. “They are in their 30s now, so I am sure we have some families who are on the third generation by this point.”

Guests will be treated to free tours of the house, led by docents, and children will have the opportunity to speak with Santa Claus and, if desired, have a photograph taken with Santa for a small fee.

Along with the opportunity to visit Santa Claus, but many classic toys are on display as well as a train set which is set-up by J.W. Smith each year, a former board member who remains involved each Christmas.

“People continue to come back to our event each year because it has become as much of a tradition for them as it has for us,” said Linda Garrett, office manager of the Heritage House. “It’s like stepping back in time with the house and the toys, and it’s right here in Orange, so people don’t have to fight traffic or go to the mall to see Santa.”

While returning guests are always appreciated at the “Christmas with Santa” open house, Williams hopes new visitors will attend to experience what the organization has to offer.

“An added bonus of this event each year is that it introduces people to the Heritage House,” Williams added. “It teaches them a little history about Orange and what life was like in that era. Plus, we are always looking for new members and it lets them become familiar with who we are as an organization.”

Built from native pine lumber, the six-room house is two stories tall, has five fireplaces and reflects life as it may have been from the 1900s-1920s for an upper-middle class family in Orange.

According to its official website, the house is listed as a Recorded Historic Texas Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission.

A new addition this year will be the presentation of small gift bags to children who attend, instead of refreshments. In 2014, more than 100 children attended the two-night event.

For more information on the Heritage House or this event, visit www.heritagehouseoforangecounty.com or call 409-886-5385.