The End Of A Tradition

Southaven, Ms

By: M Davis

The sounds of Ho Ho Ho’s and children’s laughter coming from The Colonial Hills Subdivision in Southaven will be coming to a close
at the end of this Christmas Season as the lights on the little red Santa House on Springfield Cove will be turned off for the last time.

For the past three and a half decades, “Christmas on Springfield Cove” has been a favorite tradition for generations of children from all over north Mississippi stopping by to share their wish list with the jolly elf who many call “The Original Southaven Santa”.

“After all these years it’s just time to pull the plug – we are getting older and tired” said Sandy Hoots. She has hosted the event from the beginning starting “Christmas on Springfield Cove” in 1983 in a little red Santa house. Hoots and her then husband, Charlie, started the event to share the magic of their memories of growing up and visiting Santa at Court Square in Memphis.

“Santa Bill” Hillhouse

First Santa House 1983

“Back then the whole cove put up lights and decorations and was part of making “Christmas on Springfield Cove” a holiday treat” she said. Hoots, now along with her sister Debbie Magee, have been the driving force keeping the sprit alive and keeping the annual event running.

“We have kids that have grown up coming to see Santa and are now bringing their own kids to see Santa” Magee said, with tears in her eyes. “It’s going to be hard to let this go, but we have had to do this all by ourselves for the last few years and it’s just too much work for just a few people”.

Over the last 35 years thousands of children have made this a big part of their annual Christmas season. The crowds grew to over several thousand per year in their hay-day but are closer to 1,000 in recent years.

One thing to note is this has been always paid for out of their pockets and each child leaves with a candy cane and a memory that lasts a life time. “We used to sell Polaroids photos with Santa to help cover some of the costs and up-keep, but we never broke even” Hoots said, adding, “It didn’t matter as long as the kids left happy”.

“Christmas On Springfield Cove” has had several Santa’s over the last 35 years.

“Santa Simon” Dean

“Santa Mike” Myrick

The first Santa was “Santa Bill” Hillhouse and he was a big part of their success from the start. “He had a big heart and a true love for children – his happy smile made the children feel welcome”, Hoots said.

After “Santa Bill” they had a few fill-ins until they found a combo that lasted for years, “Santa Simon” Dean and “Santa Mike” Myrick.

“Santa Mike” still fills the seat although he missed most of last year as he battled cancer. “We are excited to have him back this year on Friday nights” shared Hoots.

Debbie Magee (L) “Santa Mike” Myrick and Mrs Claus, Sandy Hoots (R)

“Santa Bob” Auer

Last year “Santa “Bob” Auer from Pelham, AL responded to their search for someone to fill the seat during Myrick’s absence and is back this year on Saturday nights.

Facebook response on the Christmas on Springfield Cove page from past visitors has been overwhelming with hundreds of people wishing them well, sharing their memories and asking them to reconsider their decision to make this the last year.

Lauren Fletcher from Senatobia wrote “I am 33 years old have seen you since I was born and my 10 year old has seen you since she was born!
This year will be so special! We love THE REAL SANTA”.

Wyeth Hodges from Olive Branch posted, “I really hate to hear this!! Springfield Cv has been a tradition (33 yrs) for my family! I brought my kids, my daughter has brought my grandson for the last 12 yrs, & now my son has an almost 5 mo old daughter that we were hoping to continue the tradition. This breaks my heart!”

Joy Buchanan from Southaven said, “Oh no final year!! I remember when i was a child and I’m now 37 my parents would bring me every year and I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve been bringing my son since he was a baby and now he is 11yrs old and has asburgers autism and still believes in Santa and looks forward to seeing him every year I’m so sad now and will make this a special one for him since this is his last year here y’all have done a wonderful job thank you and bless y’all !!”

“Santa Bob” Auer

Santa will be visiting with children every Friday and Saturday night until Dec 22 when he makes his final curtain call.

Christmas On Springfield Cove is located in the Colonial Hills Subdivision in Southaven, near the intersection
of Custer Drive and Southaven Circle. Look for signs on Hwy 51 near Custer Drive pointing you in the right direction.

Their hours are 7-9 on Fridays and 6-9 on Saturdays.

This year they are collecting donations of non perishable foods items for families in need.

People from all around are hoping for a Christmas Miracle that would make these two elves reconsider ending this cherished event that has made so many happy for years.

So the clock is running, go by and see “The Southaven Santa On Springfield Cove” … before time runs out!

Christmas On Springfield Cove’s Facebook page Link: Christmas On Springfield Cove

Editors Note: Maybe with some more volunteers they could be talked into a few more years…
FOUR DECADES has a nice ring….