It was a difficult winter in 1978 for the Hamilton family. Randy Hamilton II and his wife Kay were expecting their second child on Christmas Day. They were living in San Marcos and would not be able to travel to North Texas to visit their families for Christmas.
“With no insurance and having to save all our money for the impending hospital stay when the baby came," Randy says, "I asked Kay, ‘What do you give for Christmas when you have no extra money?’”
She replied, “You give of yourself!”
“That gave me a great idea,” explains Randy. “The local Hallmark stores had Christmas puzzles for sell at half price, so I purchased four of them, one for each family. We decided to put them together with an inexpensive frame for each family — and that was all we could really afford at the time. We were able to go home for Thanksgiving, so we had to get organized in a hurry to assemble and then deliver the perfect gifts – the puzzles.
“We picked a night each week with no TV, no phone calls and snacks already made, "Randy continues. "It was a fun night for us and our 6-year old son, Randy III. We completed the puzzles in time and got them to North Texas as we had planned. We experienced such enjoyment doing the puzzles together that we have just continued doing this family past-time each year thereafter. We welcomed our second, third and fourth boys into the family, and they joined right in – and the tradition has continued for forty-one years now.”
Randy (II) has never been a dentist, but three of his four sons are.
“I have been the Public Relations Director for iKids Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics for eight years," he relays. "Before that, I was a teacher in the Cleburne Independent School District.”
His three oldest sons are the owners of iKids, and all three are dentists. Dr. Randy Hamilton III and Dr. Blane Hamilton are board-certified pediatric dentists, and Dr. Ross Hamilton is a general dentist. They all go to several offices in the Metroplex (and beyond) during their work days.
Their iKid offices are located in Mansfield, Burleson, South Fort Worth, North Fort Worth, South Arlington, Viridian, Ennis, Denton, Tyler, Cedar Hill and Waxahachie. Randy (III) has been a dentist for fifteen years. Blaine and Ross have been dentists for eight years. Dr. Randy Hamilton III opened the first office in Mansfield in November of 2009.
“We are excited and proud to announce that this will be our family’s first year to host an open house in the city of Waxahachie," Randy (II) says. "We ask the people of Waxahachie and other surrounding areas to join us for a celebration of the season in the hopes of viewing the Hamilton family Christmas jigsaw puzzle collection."
The open house event is set for Saturday, Dec.14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Refreshments – like brownies, cookies, and bottled water – will be served. In addition, there will be door prizes given away.
"Every 15 minutes, we will draw for a Christmas puzzle (in the box) to be given to a family that we hope will begin the same family tradition," he continued.
“We love to share our puzzle handiwork with the community," Randy (II) says. "This is our way of giving back, for all that our family has been blessed with in the dentistry business.”
So, since 1978, the Hamiltons have worked and assembled almost 150 puzzles – ranging in size from 100 to 2,000 pieces. It has taken them 41 years to accomplish this task. Their largest completed puzzle to-date is a 2,000-piece variety. However, the family is currently working on their biggest puzzle yet – 6,000 pieces.
Randy (II) also has many heart-warming puzzle stories that he likes to share.
“In 1982," he began, "we had moved back to North Texas after my father had passed away. At the time, we were staying in the country with my mother. I had a 1,500-piece puzzle sitting on the ping pong table, and I was desperately trying to somehow get it organized. All of a sudden, there was a knock at the door. I was wondering who could that be. It turned out to be an old friend from San Marcos, who was just going through a tough divorce. The man confided that he didn’t know what to do, but he thought of us.
“I then asked the friend if he liked puzzles”, he continued. “He said ‘yes,’ so we stayed up the entire weekend working on the puzzle, drinking hot chocolate and talking about life. When he left, he said, ‘I think I will be alright now.'
“Somehow, our little puzzle-making weekend gave the guy the hope he needed to make it through a tough time in his life," Randy (II) says. "Over the years, every time I look at the puzzle we put together that weekend, I always think of Vern.”
To close, Randy (II) shares, “Another story happened years later involving a young lady we ran into while shopping one day. Our oldest son had asked me what would happen if he had a date on puzzle night. I said nothing will happen, but I just hope she likes to work on puzzles!
"At the mall years later, this same young lady gave my wife and I a hug and said, ‘You probably don’t remember me, but years ago I had a date with your son, and we had to go to your home and work on a Christmas puzzle. I have to admit that it was one of the most fun dates I ever had. Thank you so much for that special evening.’”
The public is invited to the iKids Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics Open House Saturday, Dec. 14. Their beautiful Waxahachie facility and interior walls will be adorned with the family Christmas puzzles all over the different rooms and offices.
The Hamilton family wishes everyone a “Merry Christmas” and heartily asks that you stop by and spend a few minutes enjoying their “puzzling way of celebrating Christmas” this year.
The iKids office in Waxahachie opened in April of 2017. The office is located at 2171 North Highway 77.