Friday, December 23, 2011

Ward Christmas Dinner

I have a lot to catch up on.  I'll start with the event that took up a lot of time in the last few weeks, our ward Christmas dinner.  Here's the story behind the event:

First of all, in the middle of October, our ward made the choice to exhaust the entire rest of the year's budget to charter 2 buses to take families to the DC Temple.  It was a controversial decision but it was Bishop's choice to make.  Anyway, it was announced in Relief Society that our Christmas dinner would be a simple potluck and the Young Men's auxiliary was in charge.  It was an effort to teach us a lesson in sacrifice, ie. we sacrificed our fancy party for a trip to the temple.  I was shocked!  The Christmas dinner should be the nicest event of the year!  I heard the chatter from other members who felt the same.  We were all troubled over the dinner and how it might turn investigators, friends, and family members off.  Anyway, after stewing over it for a week or so, I volunteered to help with the decorating.  With a ton of planning, shopping, and countless hours on Pintrest for inspiration I was able to make this party look great in spite of the simple potluck.  Here's what I did.  I had the food lined up in the overflow and shut the partition walls 2/3 to hide the potluck-y-ness of the food tables.  Also, I had Sean string lights all across the cultural hall so we could dim the lights way down and have an intimate setting.  I brought all of my Christmas decorations including my trees, wreaths, centerpieces, battery powered lights, and even my Santa collection.  

But I think that set this party apart was the Hot Chocolate Bar.  I was so excited to do this.  I had 3 Crock Pots full of hot chocolate and an assortment of condiments including

Crushed Peppermint
Mini Marshmallows
Mini Chocolate Chips and White Chocolate Chips
Peppermint Stirrers
Chocolate Sprinkles
Cans of Whipped Cream
Marshmallow Peeps on a Stick
Chocolate Powder for Dusting
Gingersnaps (for dunking)

We had a Santa suit but no one to fill it.  So Sean, being the best helper ever, volunteered for the job.  To make things run more smoothly, we had Santa make his arrival while people were eating.  He went around to visit each table for photo ops and have his elves (the Young Men) hand out a special treat bag for the kids.  This way, we didn't have a huge lineup after the dinner and we could end the evening on a more spiritual note.  It worked like a charm.  Sean was a great Santa in spite of not really wanting the job to begin with. 


  Then we had a variety of performances from members including a piano duet, singers, and poetry readings.  We ended the night with some Christmas carols and were done by 8pm.  I was so exhausted by the end of the night.  Good thing my kids didn't mind being left with another family for most of the night.  Thankfully, we had a ton of help with the clean up and we were home a little after 9pm.  It was a ton of work and I had the biggest headache the whole day and night, but hearing the people tell me that they had never been to a nicer Church dinner made it all worth it.  Although I won't be throwing another party for a good long time, I'm looking forward to it.

No comments: