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Recovered files reveal history of ‘lawn’ decorations

If the City of Brundidge had it to do over, officials might also opt for the “Santa and Friends” outdoor Christmas decorations.

But a half a century ago, the city fathers had no idea that City Hall would become a folklife theater and the traditional sounds of the guitar, fiddle and banjo would be the calling card for folks for far and near.

If they had known, they might have mail ordered No.6084, the Jolly Santa Combo. “Banjo, traps (fry pan) and Santa on guitar.” The suggested background for the combo was a rustic fence with a log fire and colored floodlights and a lighted tree. The price for the three figures would have been a whopping $99.50.

A plundering Brundidge City employee found the catalog advertisement for the Jolly Santa Combo but even more interesting was the outdoor Holiday decorations that the city fathers chose to purchase those many years ago –Santa’s New Motion Workshop.

The advertisement was probably hard to ignore. After all, it almost guaranteed, “For miles around, everyone will be talking about this new sensational display. It is a Leonard Brynolf Johnson original and will add beauty and spirit to your lawn.”

The advertisement didn’t stop there.

“Think of the excitement in your neighborhood as Santa waves his arm in friendly greetings to all who pass by. Imagine the glee of the children as they watch one of Santa’s elves pound nails into a Christmas box, as the other elf paints a sled. You will be delighted with the other elves, one sewing a button on a jacket and the other grinding an axe.”

Gay red and white candy canes add color to Santa’s building. The perfect Christmas display for your lawn, park or business place. The price was $289.00 DISCOUNT Price $279.00.

The city purchased the lawn display and also purchased a Santa and Reindeer set. Santa waved his hand and the reindeer pranced and pawed. The reindeer and sled were as near authentic as possible to the ones used by the Laplanders who lived in the land of the “Northern Lights.”

Both “masterpieces” have endured with time. The weather had taken its toll on the displays so they have been repainted to bring back the brightness of the original colors.

Some of the “mechanics” of the working elves have halted but nothing has diminished the magic of the outdoor decorations that promised “Action! Realism! Color!”

The one thing that was not promised was longevity. But it should have been. These decorations are as much a part of the Christmas scene in Brundidge in 2009 as they were in 1955.

People from all over town and around still stop to watch the elves at work and take a closer look at Santa and his reindeer.

It’s the town’s way of saying “Merry Christmas!” and, after all these year’s, there’s still something magical about those colorful wooden displays. There’s no DISCOUNTING that.