RMC Christmas tree

Oxford Public Works employees plant a Christmas tree on the RMC Oxford Mediplex lot in mid-November. The tree will stay on the property year-round, even after the Really Magical Christmas festival. (Lagina Fillingim/Special to The Star)

RMC Foundation’s Really Magical Christmas wasn’t supposed to be that big of an event.

The foundation, Regional Medical Center’s philanthropic arm, had wanted to celebrate its 40th anniversary with just a simple Christmas tree lighting ceremony, but the project ballooned during the planning phase. Now the free event, to be held Tuesday at the RMC Oxford Mediplex from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will include visits from Santa Claus and the Grinch, train rides from two separate trains, free hot dogs, kids’ activities and a few options for holiday photos, including a giant snow globe for family portraits.

“It really did start off as just a tree lighting,” said Lagina Fillingim, foundation director.

Visitors can make a donation to purchase a light, star or angel to put on the Christmas tree in memory of loved ones, with funds going to RMC’s Women and Children Center. Fillingim said that the center had record-breaking baby delivery rates for the last few years, and money raised will go toward a new birthing tub and a birthing suite big enough to hold the tub, a bed and waiting family members.

“Looking back, every single person in our family was born at Regional Medical Center,” Fillingim said. “That department is something that affects so many people in this community.”

Fillingim said that one of the foundation’s biggest roles is buying equipment for hospital departments that can’t fit it into their budgets; the organization was founded to pay for the construction of a cardiac catheterization lab at the hospital, and in the years since it has purchased everything from chemotherapy chairs to ICU beds.

The City of Oxford donated the Christmas tree, which Fillingim said has been planted at the Mediplex, where it’s expected to grow and be used in future Really Magical Christmas festivals.

“We have an opportunity for the tree to grow with us,” she said.

Lights are $10, stars are $100 and angels are $500. Fillingim said donors can visit rmccares.org/christmasfestival to make a pledge in advance, or give at the event with cash or credit card. Donations include light-up necklaces for kids. Parking is available throughout the Mediplex, located at 1400 Highway Drive, facing U.S. 78 East in Oxford.

Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560.