Christmas lights, holiday goodies, and a hometown shopping experience are on tap when Christmas in Olde Ballinger gets underway Saturday. And, even Santa Claus will be on hand during this annual Christmas event which has become a holiday tradition for many.

Christmas lights, holiday goodies, and a hometown shopping experience are on tap when Christmas in Olde Ballinger gets underway Saturday. And, even Santa Claus will be on hand during this annual Christmas event which has become a holiday tradition for many.

If you want to participate in Small Business Saturday and skip the long lines at the malls and the traffic, Ballinger will be the place to be. Vendors will be lining the streets along Hutchins Avenue and merchants will be open for your shopping pleasure.

“I always look forward to Christmas in Olde Ballinger,” said Amanda Collom, owner of Brady Bunch Boutique. “I love seeing all generations making memories with friends and family downtown. This year Christmas in Olde Ballinger falls on Small Business Saturday, making it that much more exciting.”

Activities kick off at 10 a.m. when visitors can start shopping. The Christmas Parade will be held at 11 a.m. Activities will be ongoing all day, with special guests like Santa himself riding in the parade.

Local merchants and community members have been busy for weeks decorating shop windows and preparing for the biggest shopping day of the year in Ballinger.

If you are looking for a respite from "black Friday," the unique shops and vendors in Ballinger will be offering one of a kind items like clothing, jewelry, home décor and furniture. More than 30 vendors will be lining the streets with everything from handmade sterling silver jewelry, jams, jellies, baked goods, clothes, metal art and wooden signs, crosses and home décor and there will be smattering of local artisans. There will also be food vendors, with tamales and Cajun cuisine as well as fruit kolaches.

"We have a big variety (of vendors) this year," said Carolyn Slaughter of the Downtown Retail Merchants Association, which sponsors the event with the Ballinger Area Chamber of Commerce. "Shop Ballinger, shop local!"

Local merchants have been decorating their shop windows with holiday sparkle for the past several weeks a tradition in downtown Ballinger.

"My windows are my Christmas card to everyone," said Bob-O Wright, manager of Higginbotham's, who has decorated with the windows of the store with nostalgic scenes like, a nativity scene, a cozy holiday living room, a winter wonderland and Santa in his sleigh in the windows. In all there are around 50 trees set up inside the store and in the front display windows.

"It is an old fashioned fun family time of the year, which is a family tradition,” Wright said. “We want folks to remember to come downtown and make this a tradition.”