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Pancho Claus is celebrating 40 years of spreading Christmas joy in Houston. Since 1981, Richard Reyes — in the role of Pancho Claus (or the "Tex-Mex Santa") — has been an iconic holiday figure in Texas, especially for Houston’s Latino community. Each year, Reyes and his helpers, dressed up in zoot suits — along with the help of hundreds of volunteers, many of whom have been devotees of Pancho Claus since they were kids themselves — deliver upwards of 15,000 presents to families in need. While the tradition of Pancho Claus has had several incarnations across the country, having been borne out of the Chicano civil-rights movement in the 1970s, it’s particularly popular in Texas cities thanks to Houston's Reyes, 70, the region's most well-known embodiment. The bigger vision, Reyes points out, is for a company of players to carry on the festive tradition long after he decides to hang up his red coat. His team is already in the process of casting several Panchos to make appearances around the city this year. "If Santa can do it," he says, "we can do it."