Royse City’s annual Christmas tree lighting and downtown holiday celebration last week was a rollicking success, with several hundred citizens in attendance and presentations from the city, the Chamber of Commerce, local elementary schools and more, and even a visit from the big man in red himself.

The highlight of the ceremony, besides the actual lighting of the tree itself, was the performances by choirs from Anita Scott and Davis elementary schools. Each of the choruses performed four or five songs, and other choirs appeared as well.

The Royse City Chamber of Commerce, represented by executive director Julia Bryant, also presented a ceremonial check to the city’ s animal control department.

Staffed by just a few full-time workers, the Royse City Animal Control Department operates an adoption center and houses roughly 500 animals (mostly dogs and cats) per year.

After the presentations and performances ended, Mayor Janet Nichol passed on the task of flipping the comically oversized switch to a young girl, illuminating the tree with resplendent holiday lights.

The lighting of the tree also coincided with the arrival of Santa Claus. Following the ceremony, Santa was available to listen to kids’ Christmas wishes as they sat on his lap. 

Sporting a rich crimson velvet suit and mounted in an elaborate golden chair, this year’s Santa was certainly a convincing one, as evidenced by the lines of children who waited to see him.

Royse City’s Christmas festivities didn’t end last week.

The lighted Christmas parade, complete with illuminated floats, will be Saturday, starting at 6:30 p.m. and going until 8:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Hometown Christmas.”

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