Lilly’s Christmas Party adapts to make sure every child has a Christmas
By Kristen Meriwether
For over 50 years Lilly Serna owned Lilly’s Bar and Grille, and every year as the calendar turned to December, she had one goal: to make sure every child had a Christmas.
She created Lilly’s Christmas Party in 1964 at her original bar in Maxwell. The annual event, which moved to Lockhart in 1984, gives fruit, candies, cakes, and presents to anyone in need, no questions asked.
Lilly’s been gone for two years now, but her daughter Lydia C. Serna carries the torch for her mom. And with a global pandemic causing even more financial hardships for families all across the U.S., there was no way they were going to cancel this year’s affair.
“We didn’t want the COVID numbers to rise, but we still wanted Christmas to happen for the children,” Lydia said in an interview December 4th.
The party has been modified to comply with COVID safety guidelines, getting the blessing of both county and city officials. Every single detail has been thought out from getting to see Santa, to getting the correct presents for kids, even to entertaining music.
Much like the Dickens Parade, Lilly’s party will be a drive-through event. Anyone needing gifts can drive up to the Lion’s Club off of 183 between noon and 3 p.m. on Sunday December 20th.
DJs will be playing holiday music, festive decorations will adorn the garage, and Mrs. Clause will be waiving to kids at a safe distance.
A volunteer will find out the ages and genders of the kids needing toys to get them matched with pre-wrapped presents. Once they exit the garage, Santa will be there with his elves, handing out bags of apples, oranges, and pre-packaged candies.
The pandemic will not stop one of the party’s favorite traditions—cake. Originally provided solely by the beer vendors, businesses and citizens have added to the cake donations for decades now.
Since no party would be complete without a cake, that tradition will continue this year. But to comply with safety guidelines, slices will be put in to-go containers and handed out.
In what is becoming a pattern here in Lockhart, the community is banding together to make the annual tradition safe and successful. No, it won’t be like last year, but thanks to the volunteers, every child in Lockhart can have a Christmas in 2020.
“There is no I in any of this teamwork,” Lydia said. “It’s about everyone coming together because none of it can be done without everyone.”