Two very different — but equally delightful — Christmas celebrations were held in Brownwood and Early Monday and Tuesday nights, heralding a festive week that will conclude with the Lighted Christmas Parade and Christmas Under the Stars.

Monday night, Howard Payne University offered “An HPU Family Christmas.” The evening began with a Christmas concert at First Baptist Church and concluded on the HPU campus with music, refreshments, the lighting of the HPU Christmas tree and the reading of the Christmas story from the biblical book of Luke by HPU President Dr. Corey Hines.

In Early, residents gathered Tuesday night in the open space near the intersection of Early Boulevard and Garmon Drive for the Lighting of the Christmas Tree celebration, sponsored by the City of Early Beautification Committee.

Residents have the option of donating $1 on their water bills to the beatification committee to fund the celebration.

Choirs from Early Elementary School, Early Primary School and and the Early ISD band entertained with lively Christmas music before Santa Claus arrived, to the delight of the children, on an Early fire truck. Refreshments, donated by United Supermarkets, were served by HPU students.

“Every year we always get good comments from passersby coming from Austin or Fort Worth,” Early Assistant City Administrator Larry McConn said. “They always make some kind of comment of how our corner looks. We’re proud of that, and we’re proud of what you all do to help us light this up every year.”

The Brownwood Areal Chamber of Commerce’s Lighted Christmas Parade will begin in downtown Brownwood at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Christmas Under the Stars will be celebrated from 4-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Depot Plaza Complex and the Lehnis Railroad Museum.

A new event will be offered from 5-9 p.m. Saturday night — the Sipping Under the Stars wine and beer tasting.