This was our first Ward Christmas Party as a new ward (our ward was split over the summer), so no one quite knew what to expect. The only building available that we thought would be large enough was the university stake center. Come to find out, the gym was not a full size gym, not even close to full size and they only had round tables. It was a bit tight. Actually, it was a lot tight. So tight, in fact, that I didn't even attempt to wade my way through the sea of people to get to the dessert table. I never miss dessert. It was that bad. Although the elderly lady sitting next to me, who brought her own meal, offered me her jell-o for dessert. I politely declined. But I digress. My job at this party was the decorations. Now, I'm no decorator. I'm not even crafty, really. So how do you decorate 30 (round) tables for under $50? Lots of cheap wrapping paper and friends who are smarter than I am.
I thought they turned out really nice. It even looks like there might be enough space to move about, but trust me, after packing 250 people in there, there was no going anywhere.
So the decorating, which took all afternoon, was only the beginning of the fun. I realized about 15 minutes before the party started that no one really knew what was going on and everyone assumed that I was in charge. Does the Relief Society President always have to be in charge? Apparently. I had no idea what to do, I had already done my job. I finally gave up and just started telling people what to do. I really wanted to just sit down with my kids. Jason had to work, so I was trying to keep my kids in control as well as answering everyone's questions. Crazy. Finally, it came together and the food was served.
Shortly after dinner, when the primary was supposed to be getting ready for the program they had prepared, we found out that Santa was on a tight schedule and needed to get started now. It was then that it was realized that the bags of Santa treats for the kids had been left at our church in the clerk's office. The Bishop made a mad dash to retrieve the goodies while the kids lined up to see Santa. Because there was no stage nor extra room of any sort in the gym, Santa sat in the foyer, which caused all the older people to assume that the party was over.
Santa wasn't the friendliest, nor the most realistic Santa I've ever met. And if you can tell from the look of skepticism on Ben's face, the children were not entirely convinced. Ben later asked whether he was the "real" Santa because he wasn't wearing glasses and he didn't have a Santa bag. He also went outside to check the roof for his sleigh and reindeer. And when he saw him leave in a car (gasp), that sealed the deal. He was not the "real" Santa.
Weston, however, was oblivious. He may of thought the whole thing a little weird, but as long as he comes away with some candy (which didn't arrive until well after sitting on Santa's lap, so he probably didn't even know the two were connected), he's happy.
After Santa left and the kids were running crazy around the building, the poor Primary President tried gathering them all together for their performance. The song leader had to leave earlier, so the Primary President had to lead the music as well. Again, because there was no stage, we opened the curtains into the chapel so the kids would have somewhere to stand. Most of the ward had already left by now, and they had started to put away tables and chairs, but everyone stopped for a few minutes to watch the program. I think they did a good job, given all that had gone on.
It was a crazy night, but we're taking good notes for next year. The food was good and the kids always have a good time, no matter what. The older people? I'm not so sure, but at least everyone got a free meal.