NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Those visiting St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Ill., with visions of sugarplums might also get a glimpse of the true meaning of Christmas – and it comes with free hot cocoa.
“The True Meaning of Christmas Tour,” sponsored by The United Methodist Church, will be bringing its signature gift-wrapped truck to the mall on Sunday, Nov. 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., outside the food court entrance located between Macy's and Dillard's. The family-friendly festivities are free and open to everyone.
Fairview Heights serves as the first of 11 cities on the 23 day nationwide tour. Local and surrounding area residents have the chance to unwrap the joy of Christmas and experience this cheerful event right from the beginning.
Guests are invited to pick up a free hot chocolate, capture memories at an interactive photo booth and enjoy holiday music while spending time with loved ones and meeting new friends. A craft station will also be on site for decorating greeting cards that will be gifted to those in the care of Belleville’s Memorial Convalescent Care Center. Attendees are also invited to share prayer requests, engage in conversations about the reason behind the season and to join congregations in their community for Christmas services and events. Volunteers from Christ Church’ Fairview Heights campus, St Matthew UMC in Belleville, First UMC in O’Fallon, and Shiloh UMC will be assisting the truck’s visitors.
"We want to help people remember that celebrating Christmas is not about to-do lists and shopping," shares Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, which created the tour in partnership with local churches.
In fact, research shows that commercialization and gift purchasing are what people like least about Christmas, while spending time with family and friends and religious reflection/church are favorite activities.
“Christmas is a mixed bag for many people,” acknowledges Shane Bishop, senior pastor of Christ Church. “We hope to inspire folks that there is hope, healing, community and purpose to be found in Jesus Christ. And whether you are looking forward to the holidays or dreading them, we would love for you to be our guest at a United Methodist Church during this season.”
“The True Meaning of Christmas tour” will run from November 25 through December 17. Follow the tour online at UnwrapChristmas.org and #UnwrapChristmas.