What Christmas Is All About: Advance tradition continues for 30th year

Published 2:47 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

By Ronnie Robertson

Public Information Officer

Advance Fire Dept.

ADVANCE – “What Christmas is All About” celebrated 30 years of spreading Christmas cheer in this community.

It began in 1993 when two families in the Advance community faced a sad and difficult Christmas.  One, a young mother of small children suffered declining health due to cancer.

The other, a member of Advance Fire Department, died unexpectedly leaving a wife and two  teenage daughters.

Talk started at L&S Grocery, a hub for what’s what in Advance at the time, that something should be done to support them.  It is impossible to name all those who stepped up to meet the challenge.  Some began organizing, others collected gifts, and  more donated money.

AEverything was in place when the question arose as to how  to get everything to the families.

The answer was clear, Santa should deliver it and he would do it on a fire truck.

On Christmas Eve, 1993, Santa, Mrs. Claus, a North Pole Elf, and a number  of local support staff loaded gifts on a Advance fire truck and headed out.  The two visits were made and by the end, not a dry eye could be found.

Everyone who participated agreed we will do this again, this is “What Christmas is all about”.

This year, for the 30th, time, Santa and his Elves gathered at Advance Fire Departmaent. Everyone assembled for the reading of the history of how “What Christmas is All About” began as composed by Lori Carter Gunter and is the historical information used in this article.

Everyone then divided into three groups and headed into the community to deliver baskets filled with goodies and a lot of Christmas cheer.

Through these 30 years, hundreds have felt Christmas love and compassion through a basket, a bag, a stuffed animal, a song or just being remembered by a visit.  All those who have made the trip on Christmas Eve will tell you they are the ones who have really been blessed.

Just as the Christ child gave himself for us, giving of ourselves to others is truly “What Christmas is All About.”