Texas Man Brings Christmas to Children’s Home for 37 Years

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bicycleFinally, Placke Party Day arrives. The busses and trailers pull up, the people pour out, and the kids and staff join the visitors forming two long lines to unload the trailers. Once that job is done, everyone heads up to the kitchen where hot dogs and chili are served for lunch. And then the moment the children have dreamed of finally arrives. Santa appears (Placke’s friend, Doug Barber, who has played Santa for about 30 years), and the entire group joins hands and sings “Silent Night.”

Afterward, Santa begins handing out gifts one by one to the kids. The child takes the gift and hugs Santa before returning back to the group to open his present. Placke says it’s quite a sight to behold. Big, gruff 17-year old guys who begrudgingly hug Santa turn to mush about the second or third time their name is called out for a gift. Placke says there’s a lot of screaming and hollering and that it’s quite chaotic. The whole party lasts for about two and a half hours.

This year’s party is scheduled for December 17. Placke says, “If you’re a kid between the ages of 7 – 18 and you are at New Horizons, then your life has pretty much sucked. [The party] is a dream come true for these kids who have nothing. It does your heart good,” he says. “It’s the true meaning of Christmas.”

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