Christmas in the tropics – Party Ideas

In my church we have a group called the activities committee.  I’m the leader in my group. So they got a little dose fo bree for this christmas party… I find I get sick of the traditional christmas parties and have wanted to do something different for a long time…so I thought about it for a long time and decided to go completely opposite
 Ok so here was the challenge
 a party for 350 people including dinner for 1,600….can it be done….yes if you are creative…. so the other dilemma… we have a lot of kids in our particular congregation. 
So the party had to entertain kids and adults….So I went for a program while people ate dinner and the kids got to go to the front of the stage and sit on beach towels-while parents ate and talked…..I had so many people say that was the hit that the kids were entertained while parents got to enjoy conversation without spilling drinks and stay in your chair every 5 minutes… it worked well.
This was a photo prop station- i didn’t get a picture of it completely done but we strung paper lanterns that hung it was adorable but of course on nights of events im running around crazy and dont get a chance to take good pictures also its inside horrible lighting – we also had 2 beach scenes so it wouldn’t get congested with people taking pictures- which worked great and the young married couples without kids loved this! 
Everyone was greeted with a lei as they came in-
burlap was from home depot
lanterns from zurchers in utah- my fav party store when I go visit I stock up
beach scenes and leis bought in bulk from oriental trading company
we started serving dinner- pineapple ham potatoes tropical mandarin salad corn and tropical cupcakes luckily we have a steller baker in our church who owns a cupcake company! shes so talented then as kids started to get antsy we invited them to the front of the stage to sit on beach towels and listen to a story about christ and how his birthday was somewhere tropical we also had a talk by one of our leaders by John H Groberg who served a church mission in the south pacific.. if you’ve ever seen the movie the other side of heaven thats where the story comes from
Ok onto centerpieces how do you make 44 centerpieces that make an impact without killing your entire food budget… you recycle.. the tables were covered in newspaper rolls that the local newspaper just gets rid of… we wanted to make the tables easy to clean up and interactive for kids so we put crayons on the table so they could just color on the table… major hit and clean up was  as easy as rolling up the paper in one big swipe… loved this!
the centerpieces are made from old wrapping paper rolls put into a little piece of wood- my dad drilled out then i glue gunned the base of the tree in. My mom and sisters helped me cut out 5 leaves for every tree by hand.. yes they are troopers! we cut 4 slits in the top for the stapled together leaves to slide into finished with coconuts to cover some holes punched out of paper. then we stuck a piece of wire through the palm tree and hung a star of bethlehem out of the tree…..the night before we collaborated on centerpieces and they did a night in jerusalem so it worked for both groups
each table had a differnet color cup and napkin so when it came time for people to get food we could call tables up by color so it wouldnt get congested
plates/cutlery/cups from zurchers in utah
350 people is a lot and we ran out of round tables! so we had to use some long ones
after the story with slideshow pictures to keep kids enthralled we had them come on the stage and sing jingle bells to the ukulele and then santa in board shorts came behind them and surprised them and handed out lifesavers with a poem about christ being their lifesaver.- this saved hours of kids sitting on santas laps.. which i think isn’t what christmas is about.. and its good to keep it short and sweet and make christ the main focus.
raffia skirt/lanterns and flowers from zurchers

And my favorite part of the night was this quartet singing melikilikimaka  they were so funny so spirited and it made the whole program. Many thanks also to my talented committee that worked so hard on food and the program I delegated to them and they totally delivered. And for everyone who helped clean up. I think the night was smooth fun relaxing and low key.. just what people need around christmas time.
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