Saturday, December 18, 2010

Our Polar Express Party

I just couldn't resist reporting on our Polar Express party. It was so much fun and turned out perfectly--thanks to about 70 people who helped put it together!!

We decided to hold the party in the morning. Everyone met at the "train depot" (the pavilion behind our church building) for hot chocolate and oatmeal (cookies) while waiting for the train.

Our Bishop (leader of our church congregation) punched the tickets and gave a tour of the parking lot while the train traveled to the "North Pole". My favorite part was when he would say, "Thank you for choosing the Polar Express. We know you have a choice in your Arctic Travel . . . " Our good friends the Purtymuns, put the train together. It was pulled by a skip loader and had a coal car, and they rigged it all so it made a whistle like a real train!!

At the North Pole (notice the "pole" in front of the building), everyone was greeted by one of Santa's elves. A child from each group was chosen to ring the bells to open the doors.

Then two additional elves would throw open the doors and others inside would yell, "Welcome to the North Pole!" It was very exciting.

The women who decorated the lobby did an amazing job!! They had such a cute place for pictures with Santa.

Also around the room were other displays, like the "nice lists" containing all the names of the children in our church congregation. There was also a naughty list--but we are keeping those names confidential. :-)

After greeting Santa and having pictures, everyone was whisked away to help out in Santa's workshops. We also had decorations all through the hallways, "street" signs with names like "Candy Cane Lane" and "Jingle Bell Way" as well as signs on the doors that said things like "Mrs. Claus Kitchen" and "Elves Break Room".
We had four workshops people could help out in. They included coloring pictures, making red and green paper chains and making snowflakes to be used to decorate rooms at Phoenix Children's Hospital, making blankets for a dialysis center, and stuffing stockings for homeless teenagers at a shelter.
Here some of Santa's helpers are coloring pictures. I think my favorite moment of the day was when a little boy about three years of age, colored his picture and then went down the hall to show it to Santa.

At 9:00 we all stopped for breakfast. All the snowflakes you see were made ahead of time and also donated to the hospital. Breakfast was delicious and I thought the room turned out really cute.

After breakfast we were all ready for a little fun and entertainment. One thing we did was sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with every table being assigned to act out a day.
Here are some of the "Lords a Leaping"

And this was my favorite--a partridge in a pear tree.

We began the party at 8:00 and finished at 10:01. And amazingly we were all cleaned up one hour later ( a little different than the six hours it took to set up!).
I think everyone had a great time. We collected a large car load of decorations for the hospital, made 28 blankets and had 29 stockings. But the best part of the entire party, for me at least, occurred yesterday when I delivered the Christmas stockings to the homeless shelter. The staff was so sweet and appreciative that I got in my car and started to cry. I wish everyone who had helped put this party together could have been there with me. It was a wonderful feeling.
Now I have been released from this calling--since activities chairman is no longer a calling in our church. And although I will miss doing it, I am looking forward to new adventures.
And may your always find . . . joy in your journey.