For the second consecutive year, the Knights of Msgr. Sherman Council 5103 in Glendale, N.Y., are taking orders for Lionel train boxcars specially designed to remind people to “Keep Christ in Christmas.”
That’s the message posted along with a full-color image of the Holy Family on the side of each boxcar. The cars are compatible with Lionel-style trains, the type many families set up to travel around the base of their Christmas tree each year. It’s the council’s way of participating in the nationwide Knights of Columbus campaign to ensure Christ is the focus during the holiday season.
The original idea to create and market the train cars came from project leader and council member Frank Kotnik Jr. His brother Knights, some of whom are Lionel hobbyists, readily latched onto the idea.
“Keeping Christ in Christmas was always very important to me,” Kotnik told The Tablet, Brooklyn’s diocesan newspaper. “I didn’t like how the birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ was being so commercialized. I also didn’t like the fact that people were starting to be afraid to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to each other.”
The Knights have sold several hundred of the original 2018 boxcars, which also feature images of the Star of Bethlehem and a United States flag.
All proceeds from the sale of these collectible Christmas toy trains will benefit Knights of Columbus charities, including the Christian Refugee Relief Fund.
The original 2018 “Keep Christ in Christmas” boxcar is now sold out. The 2019 edition, also a “Keep Christ in Christmas” boxcar but with a different Nativity image, is now in backorder for delivery in January 2021.
The Glendale council is already accepting pre-orders for two cars, the 2020 “Keep Christ in Christmas” boxcar and a caboose bearing the colors and logo of the Knights of Columbus, both of which are expected for delivery next December.
Like all Lionel trains, the K of C cars are highly collectible. “I still have the first Lionel train I was given in 1964,” Kotnik said, noting the council has hopes of eventually offering special boxcars commemorating each of the four degrees of knighthood.
The train cars, priced at $85 (which includes shipping), may be ordered through the Glendale Knights’ website at www.glendaleknights.org.
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