Christmas is a time for family and nothing will demonstrate that better than when Valley Christian Center in Spring Valley holds its fourth annual "A Family Christmas" holiday celebration this Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m.

"I always look forward to the feeling of 'warmth' I get each time we put on this event. As I see community people coming together to enjoy each other's company, it brings the whole meaning of Christmas to life," said Maria Kujawa, an organizer of the event.

This is a free event that the whole family can enjoy. "With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season sometimes rendering us stressed out, we invite the community at large to celebrate this blessed time in a beautifully warm environment where we can all, just for a few hours, shake off the demands of our hectic lives while sharing food, fellowship, fun, and family entertainment," said Kujawa.

One will be able to stroll down the church's elaborately decorated "Candy Cane Lane," where they will find a kids' craft room and snack room. Also in this area, Photography by Kari will be set up to take family photos. Kujawa said this is a "great deal" offered during this event. The sittings are 12 minutes long, offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For $20, families can get a 5x7 and an 8x10 photo. They will also have the option of purchasing photo Christmas cards that will be ready to send out in time for the holiday. Please reserve a spot by Dec. 5 by calling 346-2101.

The Root River Revelers will sing a variety of Christmas favorites starting at 6:15 p.m. Accompanying them on keyboard will be Suz Eberle.

There will be gourmet appetizers for visitors to enjoy. "Rachel Decker of Rachel's Kitchen always pulls together a wonderful array of food that will appeal to all ages," said Kujawa.

"With both hot and cold food options and a beautiful display of sweet treats, everyone is sure to find something they will enjoy!"

Each year there is a different decoration theme - this year it is "Winter Wonderland." Kujawa noted, "Changing the décor keeps things fresh and we usually have different people who get involved with helping each year, so new ideas come up as we set up."

Also different each year is the entertainment. This year Brave Community Theatre is offering a 20-minute production called "Angels with Paper Wings" both evenings at 6:45 p.m. It is directed by Ashley Cleveland and the cast includes Bonnie Austin, Dani Scholze, Shelby Larson, Stephanie Bowe, and Krista Johnson.

Also presented each evening at 7:30 p.m. will be the "It's a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play" by Joe Landry, which is set in the 1940s. The original music and musical arrangements were written by Kevin Connors. Kujawa said this production offers a "blast from the past feel as five actors and a sound-effects man tell this beloved story from the set of a radio station." The cast includes Jeff Thauwald, Rodney Vorwerk, Erick Lohmann, Julie Mlinar and Kujawa. Sound-effect creations are by Jeff Gillespie.

She added, "While it is not a musical per se, there are numerous musical cues throughout the production."

Valley Christian Center will also offer a coat check and optional valet parking for its guests both evenings.

Kujawa said Valley Christian Center likes to offer these types of events entire families can enjoy, adding, "We also feel it is important to offer events locally. Our community has so much talent and we like to team up with other businesses and organizations to showcase just how much we have going on right here in town."

"It does end up being a very full weekend with all of the Christmas on Historic Broadway happenings, but we see that as a positive!"