In November I was asked to help with the decorations for the church Christmas party. The person organizing it knew she wanted the theme to be Polar Express but at that point she was still nailing down the details. We tossed around the idea of making a ticket booth or a big train out of cardboard coming out of the wall.
Fast forward to just after Thanksgiving when we returned from our big vacation to Florida (Disney tips coming soon!) and had a small break in between holidays and we spoke about plans again. This person was finding a train backdrop and that person was making the ticket booth and so-and-so was in charge of getting some guys together to hang lights. And for me? Well she wanted to cover up ALL the ugly carpet on the walls with paper and would I paint some silver trees on that paper?
I spent chunks of that next week painting trees on the floor of the kitchen, one 6 foot section of paper at a time. I did have some help lined up but once I got started I decided there just wasn’t enough space for more than one person to work on it. Don’t feel too badly though – a lot of the time was spent waiting for the paint to dry (not one of my favorite things). Once I got into the rhythm I would spend maybe 10 minutes (20 on the big leafless trees) on the trees, let them dry for a bit, another few minutes for highlights, then let it dry completely.
I am not an artist but one thing crafting has taught me is not to be afraid of trying something new. And I did ok on my tree during paint night last spring. 😉 So I did a quick internet search for images of trees for inspiration and just ran with it.
Pretty cool huh? All pulled together with the twinkle lights and everything it was pretty impressive.
Other than my trees, there were a lot of fun party details
The tickets/invitations (aren’t they adorable?)
The ticket booth, where the bishop dressed as the conductor and punched tickets as everyone arrived.
The entry to the gym. Isn’t that duct tape train track a nice touch?
The young women and activity days girls did all the coffee filter trees and the snowflakes. Impressive.
The party was held at 9:00 AM on a Saturday. Everyone wore their pajamas and they two buffet tables set up with french toast casseroles, sausage, fruit, milk and juice. They also had a fun hot chocolate bar. I didn’t get photos of anything after people started arriving since I kept running into people I hadn’t seen in a while and was having fun just visiting.
They had conductors set up to punch tickets at each of the stations (arrival, hot chocolate, Santa, etc) but I don’t think the guests were fully clued into that part of the party as I didn’t see much punching going on.
Once everyone had started eating. they had someone sit on stage and read the Polar Express, along with showing a few clips from the movie. They also had a young couple with a brand new baby dress up as Mary and Joseph. Then Santa arrived!
I was Santa’s helper for the morning and oh what fun to see all the interactions with Santa and the kids (and the teens and the adults!). Santa was in top form and was really hamming it up for photos.
Little gift bags from Santa held a silver bell, train whistles and treats.
They also had family photos being taken in front of the big train backdrop by one of the members with her professional photographer set up.
It was a little more work than I was expecting when I agreed to help, but all in all I’m very glad I agreed. Everything turned out nicely and, even better, I got to spend some time with a lot of great people I wouldn’t have had the chance to see otherwise.
Have you done something new this Christmas season that has added to your holiday experience? I would love to hear about it!