Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Party: Schedule

Praise the Lord - our co-op's Christmas party was a success!  I worked on the planning and preparation for several months.  This was our schedule, which needed some adjustment:

11:00 Setup
11:30 Dress-Up Contest
11:45 Scripture Recitation
12:00 Potluck, Music & Slideshow
12:30 Crafts & Games
 1:00 Yo-Yo Competition
 1:30 Cleanup

We advertised in our weekly newsletter (e-mail) and placed a sign-up sheet out the last couple weeks of co-op.  Over 130 people signed up, and almost all made it!  The sign-up sheet included a place to record the main dish and dessert or salad each family planned to bring and whether they wanted to help out in setup, crafts, games, or cleanup.  I emphasized areas we were short-handed as we went along, so that those who signed up later would know where we had the greatest need.  We could have used a few more in crafts, but for the most part, I think it was well balanced.

Greg and I and a few others arrived a half hour before the setup crew, but we were still scrambling to get everything ready!  And that's with very little decorating!  We purchased rolls of red and green plastic to cover the tables quickly.  Two were enough for about 28 long tables.  We covered food, seating, and craft tables.  I brought a separate gold tablecloth for the prize table.

We did spend quite a bit of time on centerpieces over the weeks leading up to the big day.  I found the idea of using canning jars with epson salt for snow and miniature decorations.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find many small vintage-looking objects, although I did get lots of bottlebrush trees!  I used miniature bulbs, presents, drum ornaments, a couple park benches, and sprinkles of glitter.  Greg attached a beaded string to the outside and taped a light to the underside of the lids.  We found the lights in the wedding section at Michaels.  Tweezers are a must for arranging!  These turned out nice, though not as "old-fashiony" as I was hoping.

The dress-up contest required about 35 minutes, but that's because our judge did a superb job of improvising as he interviewed each child.  They were to pick a historic period or character for inspiration, and he asked each one who they were supposed to be.  His extensive acting experience, great sense of humor, and quick wit garnered lots of laughs!  I'll post a pic of Kylen in his costume soon.  :)

For the scripture portion, I asked one of our younger students to recite Luke 2:1-14.  He was finished in under 5 minutes, but it averaged out with the dress-up contest.  Where I really messed up was the potluck.  A half hour might be OK if lines diddn't exist!  15 minutes in, some hadn't even gotten their food yet.  I'd start the party a half hour earlier next time to accommodate line time.

Drink options were ice water, coffee/tea, cider (used up two gallons), and Coke (used up 3 1/2 cases of 24 from Costco).  Greg is addicted to bottled Mexican Coke, and it was his idea.  Several parents said it was a major highlight for their kids, so that was a great call on his part.  Plus, Coke is quite vintage!  Just don't forget a bottle opener.  (Don't worry - we didn't forget.)

Taken at the party!

Crafts and games were alloted one hour, and that was about right.  Clean-up took longer than I anticipated, and we left before it was completed.  I need to find out a more realistic estimation.  I was thinking it would start before games/crafts ended, but we had one game that went long.  In the future we might be able to start cleanup earlier.

One of our members created our co-op's first ever recipe book!  We didn't get as much participation as I hoped, but I thought it was a neat project for her to take on.  They made their debut at the party with an old-fashioned cover!

I'll do separate posts about the crafts and games; otherwise, this is going to get very long!


katrina said...

Looks like you had a GREAT party! thank you for sharing the many excellent ideas to steal err, I mean "borrow". I hope your Christmas was lovely...