Christmas won’t be canceled this year.
Especially at the Old Lutz School House.
After a two-year COVID hiatus, Christmas at the Old Lutz School is back, celebrating its 26th year with a display of lights, trees, trains, nutcrackers and many more decorations for local residents to view.
“Like everything else we’ve done in the Lutz community, we’re glad to be getting back and having our annual traditions — especially Christmas at the Old Lutz School,” said Stephanie Ensor, community liaison for the Old Lutz School Building’s foundation. “From the (Lutz) Guv’na Campaign to the Fourth of July Parade and now being able to host people inside the School House again, it’s just so great to finally be able to do the things we do every year here in Lutz.”
Since the school house is a Hillsborough County facility on county property, it had to adhere to pandemic restrictions, which prevented having events and gatherings in indoor spaces. Now that those are lifted, Citizens for the Old Lutz School Building, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that maintains the building through volunteering and fundraising events, was able to bring back the annual tradition.
Volunteers began decorating the house before Thanksgiving.
The display once again will feature the Tree Room, which will have various trees decorated by people and organizations from Lutz; the Snowy Railroad Room: a massive model train display assembled by Wally Hoedt; and even breakfast with Santa, on the morning of Dec. 10.
“So many people are looking forward to the comeback,” Ensor said. “Definitely grandparents, who love bringing their grandchildren up here, who just love seeing the trains and Legos.”
Returning also will be an impressive Lego town, assembled brick-by-brick by Jason Burkett.
The display includes a mishmash of Lego assembly kits from fan-favorite movies and TV shows, but with some fun nods, such as how certain Lego people are displayed throughout the town.
“2019 was my first year at the Old Lutz School, and COVID gave me three years to plan,” Burkett said. “So now, in 2022, it is (going to be) five times bigger than last time! I am excited for kids and adults to come back and see everything that we have been so eager to share with them.”
Also back on display will be the incredible massive nutcracker collection from longtime school house chairperson and supporter Phyllis Hoedt. Her collection takes up nearly half of one of the bottom floor rooms at the school house, and features a nutcracker with just about every theme imaginable.
“Phyllis has been collecting those nutcrackers for a long time,” Ensor added.
As always, coming to select evenings in December when Christmas at the Old Lutz School is open to the public, is free of charge. The school house will always take donations, but will also put out barrels to collect nonperishable food items and toys to donate to charity.
“Christmas at the Old Lutz School is part of what makes Lutz so great,” Ensor said. “I know for a fact the community is happy to have it back during this time of year in the holiday season.”
26th Annual Christmas at the Old Lutz School
Where: Old Lutz School House, 18819 U.S. 41, Lutz
Dates: Dec. 8, Dec. 10, Dec. 13, Dec. 15, Dec. 17, Dec. 20, Dec. 22, Dec. 26
When: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free. Donations are welcome.
Details: Back on display and open to the public is the School House’s annual celebration of Christmas, with the building decorated outside and the bottom floor’s room filled with Christmas trees, nutcrackers, a Lego town, an extensive model train display and other Christmas decor. There also will be Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Cost for that is $4, cash only.
Info: Visit Facebook.com/oldlutzschool.
Published November 30, 2022