Logsdon Santa brings cheer to neighborhood and beyond

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press

Every year, Warren and Wendy Laurent go all out in decorating their house at 3222 Logsdon St and dress up as Santa and Mrs. Claus to offer free photos with Santa to families in the area. 
Laurent has become known as Logsdon Santa. 
The idea to become Santa came from Wendy’s aunt and uncle, who live in Florida. Wendy’s grandmother passed down some of the decorations, and her parents, Gary and Helen Albrecht, also passed along some of the window displays that they used in Wisconsin, Laurent said. 
Laurent, retired from the military and currently a semi-truck driver for Sherwin Williams Paint, shared that they’ve decorated and dressed up as Santa and his wife every year, at every duty station, and continued the tradition when they retired to Copperas Cove. 
They’ve lived in Cove off and on since 1993, and have done the Logsdon Santa for four years now. 
The Laurents have won 1st place for the Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Holiday Decorating Contest for the past four years and entered this year’s contest as well. They also won awards for their decorations when they lived at Fort Bliss, Fort Irwin and in Wisconsin. 
The Laurents start their decorating the weekend after Halloween to prepare for the first weekend of December. Laurent said that due to his job, he is out of town and out of the state from Sunday to Friday, leaving Wendy to do a lot of the work during the week. Since they first started, the amount of decorations has grown so much that they get their friends and family involved in helping set it all up. 
Once December arrives, Laurent dresses up as Santa and Wendy as Mrs. Claus, with friends and family members dressing up an elf or acting as the photographer. They used to have the Santa pictures taken on their front porch but as more people showed up, and larger families showed up, they decided to move the operation to their garage.
Every Friday and Saturday in December until Christmas Eve, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., they open their door to families and offer a free photo opportunity with Saint Nicholas. Christmas Eve tends to be their busiest night, Laurent said. 
“Quite a few of [the families] are actually surprised that Santa’s out there,” Laurent said. 
Some families have made seeing the Logsdon Santa an annual tradition and some bring a new family member each time they come to visit, he added.
“There’s quite a few families, young families, that come here and they’re just very surprised that they’re getting free Santa pictures because they really can’t afford it to go out and to the public Santa and pay for pictures,” Laurent said.  
After each night, they upload the pictures taken to the Logsdon Santa page on Facebook for families to download or share with their own friends and families. 
Laurent also shared that each year they hear from a different family with a heartwrenching story who share how thankful they are to get to see Logsdon Santa. 
 “Unfortunately, we’ve had one that shared their experience where a family member committed suicide and it was just heartwrenching to listen, and heartwarming that they knew they came here and got a little bit of joy, you know, brightened up their season a little bit,” Laurent said.
They also have had several families with children with autism and they make special arrangements, so those families can visit Santa before the bigger crowds show up, Laurent added. 
Inside their garage is also a Christmas tree decorated with handmade ornaments from the children and parents who have visited over the years. Laurent said that when they first started doing Santa, they put out a call on Facebook asking for help decorating the tree. Each year, they receive several ornaments with the names and year. 
“Each year they are put back on the tree and some of the kids get a kick out of seeing their ornament from a previous year,” Laurent said. “My wife and I really enjoy this and look forward to putting them on every year. Santa also gets quite a few snacks which never go unanswered.”
A common question they get is where all the decorations go and how do they fit, Laurent said. When they finish after Christmas Eve, except for a few pieces that won’t fit through the door, it all fits in their attic, he added. 
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle up there,” Laurent said. “She has to put it all in the right place to get it all to fit.”
The Logsdon Santa did not make an appearance Saturday night due to the rain, which also caused half of their display lights to go out. Due to the size of their display, they’ve added on to their electrical framework to support the display, but the weather plays havoc with it. 
Laurent said that his neighbors are very supportive of their efforts and added that he’s noticed that they’re starting to decorate more during the holiday season, making Logsdon Street one of the more decorated streets in Copperas Cove. 
“If everybody just does a little bit, it just adds to the overall spirit on the street,” Laurent said. 

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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