Friday, January 29, 2010

Ward Christmas Party

The stress of my life for two months now: The Ward Christmas Party! After a very successful Halloween party, and lots and lots of compliments, I knew I needed to step it up for the Christmas Party!

Stress #1: The Food - Everyone knows that if you don't have good food, nothing else really matters! Here's my secret to having amazingly good food at our party - Brett Rader! The guy is an amazing caterer, got us a killer deal on a complete meal (LOTS OF FOOD!), and basically removed all the stress from me at all! I was responsible for paper goods and drinks... that's it. Thank you, thank you, thank you Brett! It was delicious and I appreciated the help!
Stress #2: The Activity - I wanted to do a very interactive activity, but we have a lot of older people in our ward who would want the option NOT to wander around, sit on the ground, etc. My solution: Christmas in Nauvoo. This is an idea I stumbled across here. We started off with a sit-down dinner in at Joseph Smith's "Mansion House," followed by some thoughts by Joseph Smith (Bishop Brown), then the chance to wander through the shops of Old Nauvoo, and finally dessert and music. So now I had my idea!

Stress #3: The Help - Biggest stress ever! I have a very small committee, and our ward is considerably small, especially those who are active enough to consider for help. Not to mention, those who are active have other callings that they are busy with! Luckily for me, I ended up with a few AMAZING helpers! Special shoutout to Veronica, Shelley, the Ebers, Andre, Matt Rhynard, the YW (Rachel & Dena!), the Hansens, and of course the Bishop (our "Joseph Smith"). I was able to share my vision with them and set them loose! They took on decorating, the activity, and all the set-up for their own activities! What amazing people! I am eternally grateful for all they did!

For my own sake (and maybe for someone looking for a fun activity when YOU get to be the ward activity chair), here are the activities we did:

I was in charge of the Mansion House, where we would have dinner, our message from "Joseph", dessert, and music.

Our "Old Nauvoo" activities were:
1. Skovil Bakery: cookie decorating
Look at the super-cute decorations! I wish I had thought to use a sheet for the exterior - would have been SO much easier to hang than all the cardboard! And look at the oven! Veronica, I don't know how you did it, but WOW! 2. Wood shop: decorate buzz saws / whirligigs
*Thanks to my mom and dad for sending me the whirligigs pre-made from their activity last year! Definitely made life easier!3. Riser Boot Shop: decorate santa hat / pictures with Santa
*My original thought for this room was to do lacing of stockings (since it's the boot shop), but the YW and their leaders are CRAZY busy, so they did Santa hats instead. Amy loved it, as did the other kids! 4. Blacksmith Shop: stick pull / hammer horseshoes into stump 5. Red Brick Store: "buy" candies, hot toys of the season, play pioneer games
*I thought the little sections of brick on the wall was so clever! It gave the concept of the brick wall, without having to cover the whole wall! Love it!6. Dance Hall: Learn Virginia Reel
*Dallas and Keri were troopers! People were seriously AVOIDING this room so they wouldn't have to dance, but they got out there, pulled people in, and everyone had fun in the end!
7. Printing Press: This was a place to let the missionaries have a place to share a message / materials. They also did coloring pages.

Tons of fun, right? So fun! Everyone did an AMAZING job!

We finished with dessert and hot chocolate and music. Mike, Dallas Hansen, Jocelyn Rhynard, and Cameron Heaps played some beautiful instrumental Christmas pieces. The grand finale was a choral piece by Rachel Fauber, Rebekah Chrisman, and Felicia Bauman. It really was so incredibly beautiful and brought the spirit so much! I had intended to have everyone sing a carol at the end, but I didn't want to ruin the moment!

Final Stress: Santa Claus. I know a lot of people have their feelings about having Santa Claus at the ward party. I'll share my two cents, and just ask that if you disagree with me, that's fine, but this is my blog and you don't get to tell me I'm wrong on my blog! :) I think that Santa Claus is a fun holiday tradition that kids really enjoy, and while I don't feel that he HAS to be there, there's no reason to exclude him if there is a non-central way to include him. Yes, Christ is the center of Christmas, but we were doing Christmas in Nauvoo, where Santa Claus would have been recognized, so I wanted to have a place for him in our shops. He wasn't in the chapel, he wasn't even in the cultural hall where he was the center of the party - he was in one of many rooms being used for the activity. End of soapbox.

I will say, finding someone to play Santa Claus was harder than I thought. Thanks to Dena's tip-off, I was able to find a costume (thanks Felicia!), but finding someone to wear it was more difficult than I expected. I was turned down by no less than 4 brothers before I finally approached the high counselor assigned to our ward (he's not in our ward, but his son's family is). He finally agreed! Hooray for Bro. Rhynard!

The night went quite smoothly, if I do say so myself. We didn't have as large as a turnout as we had planned, which happens during the Christmas season, but we had a good crowd and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves! Thanks again to everyone who helped!

P.S. Best part of the night? I totally fit (barely) into my old high school pioneer trek costume! Booya!


Jessica Clawson said...

What a fun idea! My husband and I were just assigned to do our ward Christmas party this year. So we only have a month to do it. We want to have it be like the pioneers and Nauvoo is perfect. I really like it. My question is what food was served? Thank you for your input, I am so doing this!

Lindsey said...

We did pretty traditional Christmas food (trying to imagine what they would have eaten in the Smith household) - so we had ham and turkey, carrots, potatoes, rolls, sauces, etc. There was a guy in my ward who did catering so he was able to get a lot of amazing food for a steal and he prepared it all for us.

Good luck with your party! My number one piece of advice would be to assign out each of the different locations to different auxillaries - it was very difficult to get that many volunteers but if every auxillary only has to find one volunteer it is much easier.

Crystal said...

The link to where you got your idea isn't working. Could you post it again here in the comments?

Crystal said...

and thank you for sharing such a good idea!!

Lindsey said...

Crystal said...

thank you so much! I've just been asked to do our ward party in 4 weeks time so I really appreciate you sharing the whole concept!!