Holiday Faire 2023, hosted by the Philoptochos Society of Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, returns for its 63rd year on Dec. 2.
The Faire includes some new and some old traditions, including a return to popular features first introduced in the 1960′s, such as lunch and dinner options, musical entertainment, and homemade gift items made by its members, according to a news release. Residents of Glenview and surrounding areas are invited to the event, which takes place in the church community center at 1401 Wagner Road.
Philoptochos, which translates from Greek to Friends of the Poor, is the name of the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the release said. The Saints Peter and Paul Philoptochos chapter takes its role seriously, successfully donating $62,000 last year to those in need at the local, national, and global levels.
Typically, one-third of the funds the group distributes are generated by proceeds from the Holiday Faire, according to the release. This year’s event beneficiaries will be Misericordia — Home, Chicago, whose mission is to provide a continuum of care and support for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and Camp One Step, who offer respite care and a summer camp experience to children who have been diagnosed with cancer, the release said.
Holiday Faire has been held every year since its inception in 1960, except for 2020 (when COVID-19 prevented public gatherings). The event’s traditions, including its name, have continued to evolve to keep with the times. While homemade Greek pastries and food have always been the largest draw to the event, the release said this year’s Holiday Faire will feature a festive food court atmosphere where people can choose from gyros, spanakopita, Greek chicken, and pastichio; an after-hours dinner drive-through; live holiday entertainment performed by Glenview students; a room where families can build and decorate gingerbread houses; and a pop-up-shop offering gifts that were made by Philoptochos members, including hostess gifts and jewelry.
The release said the changes are both an acknowledgment to current consumer trends and a nod to the past. Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church was chartered in 1960 and the ladies of the parish jumped into action to begin raising money to help those in need. By November of that same year, they hosted the first Christmas Bazaar which they held at the Wilmette Woman’s Club because their church was not yet constructed.
According to the release, at that time and for decades to follow, a cadre of women spent eleven months creating handcrafted decorations and clothing that would be offered for sale. Mary Koulogeorge, the first chair of the event, explained “We spent months crafting wreaths, stuffed animals, table and Christmas decorations. Everything was homemade!”
Over the years, the event evolved to include outside vendors and set the trend for craft shows, according to the release. The bazaar caught the attention of national media and in December 1978, Better Homes and Gardens photographed it for its Christmas issue.
“The founding ladies of our church were typically not working outside of the home,” Holiday Faire 2023 chair Kris Tsitsis said in the release. “This is no longer the case, so we updated things to be more reflective of the times. In addition to offering a new dinner drive-through option to accommodate people’s lifestyles, our pop-up-shop will primarily feature homemade consumable items like confectionaries and spices, answering the need to provide handcrafted gifts to a population focused on paring down their belongings. It’s a way of taking a fresh approach, yet keeping true to the original vision of the Faire.”
Hours for Holiday Faire 2023 are 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. and admission is a freewill donation. Lunch will be served 11:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m. The new drive-through feature will be open 5 p.m. — 7 p.m. For more information, contact Kris Tsitsis at email@example.com or visit our website at https://ssppglenview.org/events/.