Christmas meal continues holiday tradition

December 05, 1996


Staff Writer

The annual "Christmas with Nick" meal has become such a holiday tradition that even its founder has a difficult time believing its success.

"Every year it seems like it's getting bigger and bigger," said Nick Giannaris, who will once again host the free Christmas Day dinner at his Four Points Hotel on Dual Highway.

Giannaris said he never envisioned the event would become a local holiday staple when he started it 11 years ago, when more than 250 people showed for dinner. Last year's meal fed about 1,200 people.


But Giannaris said he doesn't like to talk about numbers, nor does he discuss how much money he has spent over the years to underwrite the event. He said the day is about people.

"It's a great day for me. It's the greatest feeling in the world to see that many people," Giannaris said during a Thursday news conference announcing the event.

It's also a great feeling for the hundreds of volunteers who will be on hand to cook and serve the meals, he said.

"The greatest thing about Christmas is not what you receive, but what you give," said George Turner, who will provide free transportation to the dinner through his Turner Taxi service.

Though the meal is open to anyone, it is aimed at those who would otherwise not have a holiday dinner because they are poor, alone or unable to cook.

"We invite everyone who is home alone and who does not have anyone to share Christmas Day with to come out and share it with us," Giannaris said.

Last year's Christmas with Nick featured a new twist, as Giannaris and Turner "adopted" a local family and provided them with gifts, food and other holiday items for their home.

This year they will do same, and already have selected an unnamed single mother of two children who is unable to provide gifts or even a Christmas tree for her two children.

"Hopefully the kids will find out what Christmas is really about, and when they grow up they'll be able to help someone out," Turner said.

Reservations for dinner can be made by calling the Community Action Council at 797-4161 on weekdays between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and between 2:30 and 4 p.m. Reservations, which are suggested but not required, will be accepted until Dec. 20 at 4 p.m.

Dinner will be served Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meals will be delivered to those unable to get to the hotel.

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