Published 3:06 am Saturday, December 22, 2018

Organization facilitates gifting, activities for 275 area children

Andalusia Community Christmas organizers want to be sure that people know that community Christmas is not all about the gifts.

“We do this because we want those kids to have that special gift under the tree,” Patricia Gable said. “Every child deserves a special Christmas, but Christmas is all about family also. Too often we share a toy, but it is not a shared experience with the family.”

Gable said that the goal of Community Christmas is to have a complete spirit of Christmas.

“We want the whole family to have that spirit of Christmas feeling,” Gable said during the organization’s annual party Friday night. “You’ve got more than just children here, you’ve got adults, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, the family is all here and that makes it all special.”

It is not all about getting gifts and leaving, Gable said, they try to incorporate entertainment along with the festivities to make it a family atmosphere.

“This year we had a young man from the First Baptist Church speak,” Gable said. “Each year we have either had the ballet come or the high school choir group just to have some experience that speaks to the community. It gives all of the kids experiences and fun things that they may not get at home.”

Gable said that the members of Community Christmas board have a heart for the children.

“We have realized that some families during the holidays really do have a tough time,” Gable said. “So if we can make their whole Christmas something special, that is all that we want.”

Gable said that some of the time it is not perfect, but they get the job done for the families that they serve.

“It gets tedious at times, but we do it for the family,” she said. “For example, the Junior Women’s Club sets up pictures with Santa and that is a free service for memories that you get to keep. Otherwise they may not be able to get those pictures or have to go out of town for it. We just want to create memories.”

LBW instructor Kristy White devotes countless hours to organizing gifts that are donated for the children, of shopping for children who aren’t “adopted.” She said that her favorite part of the event is being able to play Santa.

“I just love getting to play Santa,” White said. “Being able to purchase these gifts for the families and seeing their smiles when they win a bike or see Santa, it is truly a Christmas celebration.”

Through donations of cash or goods, the organization was able to serve 275 children this year.