Alternative Christmas event aims to ‘show love’
For the last 10 years, Fredonia Presbyterian Church has held their Alternative Christmas, which will continue this year. However, it will be the Rev. Holly Clark-Porter’s first time participating in the festival, and she’s excited to take part.
“It was a little hard for me to wrap my head around,” said Clark-Porter. “It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a pastor. This place is the real deal. They’re not doing this to pat themselves on the back, doing it because they see a need and are meeting it. We want to give people an opportunity to serve local and far away communities without buying into big companies.”
As part of the celebration, there is a walk-in nativity scene that can be viewed at the church’s sanctuary, but the goods for sale can be purchased in the church building. People can purchase fair trade goods made by women in countries that aren’t typically economically kind to women.
“There are baskets, house goods, and kids stuff,” said Clark-Porter. “There are items from an organization called SERRV, which are made by women in countries with a lot of economic injustice, especially to women.”
The Presbyterian Church does equal exchange at the Fredonia Farmers Market, which Clark-Porter said is where this first started. She’d also like to see it done more times throughout the year.
“I’d like to see it done several more times,” said Clark-Porter. “The idea is to not support the giants where the money goes to people who already have it.
It’s supposed to support local and communities far from us who still need to know there are people who prefer to buy handcrafted gifts.”
Another program that will be available is that of Heifer International, which allows the purchase of a kind of livestock, from ducks, to goats, to cows. Donors effectively buy the animal, that is then donated to people in other countries who are taught how to raise them.
“You’re not just giving money,” said Clark-Porter. “You’re giving them the animal and teaching them how to raise them. They can produce more animals, as the gift grows into more than the original.”
Gift cards for Rural Ministries can also be purchased, and any donation is met with an ornament for people to take home. While Clark-Porter said these ideas came from the Christian imagination, no religious affiliation is required to help serve these causes.
“All we are hoping to do is support people, aid people, and show love in the world,” said Clark-Porter. “There is no other objective. We’re not trying to get people into church, the idea is just that we love our community and the world.”
People will be directed from the parking lot doors to the nativity scenes in the sanctuary, then they can make their way to Fellowship Hall with the market, where donations can be purchased with actual hands on goods. The Fredonia Presbyterian Church is located on 219 Central Avenue, with the parking lot located off Cottage Street. Alternative Christmas will be open on Friday from 3 to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 5 from noon to 2 p.m. For more information about the church, visit https://www.fredoniapres.org/