Unwrapping the Spirt of Christmas Deep in the Heart (Central) Texas

UMC Christmas Road tour makes Waco its first stop as it aims to unwrap the true meaning of Christmas with fellowship and collections benefitting Gifts for Grannies and Methodist Children’s Home.

Those meandering throughout Downtown Waco with visions of sugarplums this Saturday (Dec. 2) might also get a glimpse of the true meaning of Christmas complete with some free hot cocoa.
An easy-to-find bedecked tour truck will be the centerpiece of “The True Meaning of Christmas Tour” festivities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 2, across the street from Magnolia Market at the Silos in the parking lot of First Baptist Church of Waco (500 Webster Ave.).
This year’s tour has plans to visit 21 cities in 16 states this year to offer free hot cocoa and offer an invitation to join with others to unwrap the true meaning of Christmas. The Central Texas Conference was selected to be the first stop on the 2018 tour with an event in Waco. First United Methodist Church of Waco, Austin Avenue United Methodist Church, Central United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of Woodway will all help co-host the come-and-go event open to the entire community and surrounding area.
“We want to offer Central Texas a different type of gift: an opportunity to celebrate what Christmas is all about by engaging in service with neighbors, boosting joy and building relationships with others,” said Dr. Leah Hidde-Gregory, Central District Superintendent, Central Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.  
The day’s activities will include collection of items for two local ministries: Gifts for Grannies and the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco.
Gifts for Grannies, organized through First United Methodist Church of Waco, collects socks, gloves, hats and scarves for needy senior citizens in the Waco area. In the Waco area, according to SeniorCare.com, 32 percent of seniors live alone and 36 percent of senior households have an annual income of less than $20,000.
Attendees also are invited to donate new toys for the Methodist Children’s Home’s Toy Drive to benefit the children living in the residential programs. As a guide for best types of toys to donate, the majority of the children who live at Methodist Children’s Home are ages 12-18.
To participate in the service projects, bring items to The True Meaning of Christmas Tour stop between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 2.
A survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2013 indicated that the activities that people least liked at Christmas time are the commercialism/materialism, money/expense, and shopping/crowds. What they most look forward to is spending time with family and friends (69 percent) and religious reflection/church (11 percent).
“This tour is a unique way for the church to reach out to people who are experiencing loneliness or who want to give back to the community at this significant time of year,” said Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, which is coordinating the month-long expedition. “More than 500 volunteers from local United Methodist churches are partnering with us to make this a multi-state effort.”

The True Meaning of Christmas tour will stop in 21 cities from December 2-24. Follow the tour online at UnwrapChristmas.org and #UnwrapChristmas.