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: We have finally survived the Ward Christmas Party. Winter Wonderland. The menu was make-ahead-mashed potatoes (made by me and heated up by everyone else), spiral cut glazed ham, green beans, cranberry sauce, roll and butter, and eclair cake (also made by me.) We had an horsdourve table with a social hour featuring Cheryl Settlemeyer's holiday cheese balls, veggie trays with ranch dressing, and Aunt Jeuney's Hot Buttered Cranberry Punch. Served from crystal bowls into crystal cups.

The decorations were dead tree branches sprayed white, with silver glitter balls, silver tinsel, silver snowflakes, white snowflakes, and white, silver, and blue star garlands. Around the trees we put lots of white plastic left over from Erika Orr's wedding, and we hung giant glittery styrofoam snowflakes from the ceiling. Centerpieces were flowerpots planted with purple pansies, white pansies, white stock, candytuft, dusty miller, and festuca glauca . The pots on the serving table also contained silver helichrysum and pink and white cyclamens. Pots were wrapped in white trash bags, then in snowman patterned cellophane, and tied with blue shimmer tulle. Lots of silver mesh bows around, and frosted eucalyptus wreaths on the doors and front of the serving table. Santa sat in a purple armchair under a white garden arch decorated with branches, balls, snowflakes, and star garland. On the wall behind him we hung Jill Langley's Mary Engelbreit Father Christmas banner, and on the wall behind the serving table we hung my snowman banner. White tablecloths, silverware tied in white napkins with blue ribbon and silver jingle bells. Also on the tables were program booklets containing the script and music for the songs, as well as recipes and a thought from the bishop. We had these with colored pencils five to a table in little decorated Christmas bags (decorated by Ethan Ledbetter with glitter stars. Tess Orr stapled the booklets and then Tess and Ethan filled 200 souffle cups with cranberry sauce.)

We set the manger scene (live people) up on risers with dark blue backdrop, and borrowed Andy Smith's electrician spotlight to shine through the backdrop onto the manger, so it was surrounded with blue light.

The manger itself was built by me out of scraps from the neighbor's tree branches and lined with Gretel's sheepskin. A lot of the screws poked through, so we didn't put the baby in the manger. Otherwise, we would have gotten to skip 30 years of New Testament history, going straight from the stable to the crucifixion.

Cheryl Settlemeyer wrote a nice (short) program of scriptures and carols into a Spotlight Dinner Theatre, which was well performed and well received.

The Hardings did a really good job as Kitchen Gestapo. Erin Tarjan and Danielle Torgersen really pulled the laboring oar in the kitchen as well, as did Lori Moncur. We had planned for the YM to serve, but had to recruit the Young Women too, and a lot of them had attitudes and I had to kick some butt. When Santa arrived, he made the bishop sit on his lap and tell whether or not he'd been a good boy. Then the bishop received a present-- a 2002 In-N-Out T Shirt-- and all the little kids sat on his lap and got a candy cane. The reason for the T Shirt is In-N-Out is where the bishop always has to stop on the way home from temple trips--he doesn't want to spend the $$$ to go anywhere else.

The EQ did a fantastic job of the cleanup, and Duane Black hauled all the branches to the dump the next day. I had the brainstorm to call Pres. Waite and tell him we were leaving the chairs and tables set up for their party, so that was a win/win for both of us. (Although the custodians complained.)

Then today at church the 5th Ward RSPres screamed at me for using "their" tablecloths. They don't even need them until the 22nd, and Doris Jackman took them right home and laundered them and had them back today, but she was still really po'd at me. Said, "Didn't you think to ASK???" I said, no it never occurred to me to ask, since all the furnishings of the building belong to everyone share and share alike. Sheesh. Doris had to clorox them twice even to get them decent. We're going to make our own tablecloths to use and keep them hidden away.

We had 268 chairs set up, and every one of them was occupied. That doesn't include those of us who never sat down. I bought enough green beans for 300, and we used them all. I think it was the biggest party Second Ward ever had.


© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.