A Maxwell church is in its third year of opening the Christmas season with a community celebration.

This Sunday, Dec. 3, from 5-7 p.m., area residents are invited to enjoy a Holiday Affair in Maxwell, sponsored by Maxwell United Methodist Church. The event features a soup supper at the Maxwell Area Community Center, along with Christmas music, a visit from Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides and of course, a cookie walk.

Mary Fullerton serves on the committee that puts the event together and helps with publicity for the event — or wherever else she is needed.

“It’s kind of a whole group effort,” Fullerton said of the putting together of this event. “Beth and Rich Wehrman are the organizers… Everyone in the congregation participates in some way. Some make soups or goodies, some help with decorations and music. My family will be hosts for the horse-drawn carriage rides.”

The youth of the church are also very involved in the event. “Sheri and Lee Sharp, our youth group leaders, get the kids together and organize a baking day for them.”

Fullerton said, “It takes a lot of manpower to put this together, but it’s a lot of fun.”

The event changes a bit from year to year, Fullerton said. “Last year was our first year with a DJ playing Christmas music, and we didn’t have the horse-drawn carriage rides, because our previous contact had moved.”

But this year, she’s excited that David Shold, who is a friend of a church member, is bringing the horse-drawn carriage rides back. “I’m told that David loves to donate his time to do this and he has put some special touches on the wagon to personalize it and make it fun for all,” said Fullerton. She said she’s told he even built a handicap ramp, so no one would be left out of the rides.

If you love a good bowl of soup, Fullerton said, they always have lots of choices, homemade by church members. “Last year we had chili, potato, broccoli cheese, chicken noodle, beef vegetable and taco. I’m sure there are a few that I can’t remember, too,” she said.

And when it comes to treats, Fullerton said there are usually too many to count, including all kinds of cookies, some decorated; every kind of homemade Christmas candy you can think of; chocolate covered pretzels; butter brittle; and “these Rolo pretzel things.” Last year, she added, there were also cute little reindeer made with candy canes. “I think we probably had six or so of those long church tables full of goodies. I know I filled my box full and it didn’t last very long once I got it home, either.”

If you’re wondering about costs, the soup supper is a free-will offering, and the cookie walk (where you pick the goodies you want and place them in a provided container) is $5 per pound. The committee is asking for donations for the wagon rides.

Fullerton said the Maxwell Methodist Church is known for holding events, like the Sunday School kickoff carnival and the Light the Night Halloween event.

“We may be a small church, but we have a big heart,” she said, noting that anyone who would like is welcome to join them on Sunday for worship at 10:15 a.m., prior to the event later in the day.

It’s an event the entire community is invited to, and Fullerton said it’s a lot of fun at a wonderful time of year. “I love everything about it really, from baking the cookies to decorating the community center to hearing all the ‘oohs and ahs’ when people see the goodie tables filled with everything Christmas. I love the sense of community it brings. It’s the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season.”