Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Party for 200 Please

Church Christmas Party

So, I got asked to be over the activities at church the end of October. They told me my remaining budget was about $600 oh and by the way, nothing had been planned for Christmas yet. (Yikes!)

I was worried about serving 200 people Christmas Dinner. Plus we would want to decorate, etc. Which means the food would have to be less than $3 per person. Can anyone say Panic? First order of business: get an awesome committee! Check.

Next we had to come up with a theme and food. To me it made sense to go simple and cheap. However, I did not think that hotdogs would fly. "What is cheap and feeds a lot of people?" I asked myself. Immediately I thought of Amish Haystacks. I knew from growing up around my Amish grandparents, cousins, etc., that their typical fundraising dinner - an Amish Haystack dinner - would feed tons and was cheap. Click here for recipe

This lady at church makes these dinner rolls from scratch that are to-die for. She is also used to cooking/catering for large parties. I asked her about making rolls for the Ward Christmas Party and how much she'd charge. She told me she would make 400 rolls if I gave her 25 lbs of flour, 4 lbs of butter and 1 dozen eggs. I couldn't believe it. Things were coming together and I knew that we could get $6 pumpkin pies from Costco that would feed 12-16 people per pie.
That settled it! Once we figured out the food and theme - everything else sort of formed itself.

Theme: Christmas in the Country
Food: Amish Haystack Dinner, homemade rolls, pie for dessert
Entertainment: Country Bumpkin Band & Little Lamb's Choir
Activities: Handmade Ornaments for the kids, Group Sing-A-Long
Decor: Rustic, simple, traditional

The Country Bumpkin Band is actually a family from the neighborhood. Almost all of them play the piano and they agreed to play (for free) Christmas music during dinner.

Table cloths - We called up our local newspaper and asked if they could sell us a roll of plain paper. We got it for $5 and it covered 20 long tables! How cool is that? Clean up's a breeze! And we had enough utensils, napkins and cups from last year. So that meant we just needed to get good sturdy paper plates.

I left the decorating up to a few of the committee members as they are so much better at it than I. And, being in the "Country" meant it could be kept simple. Garlands for the table (the ones we used last year) and punched white paper sacks with 40 battery-operated votives (which a committee member already owned). We also found little country looking wooden boxes stashed away in our supply closet - obviously from a few years ago. We filled those with crayons and set those out on the tables for the kids to color on the paper while waiting for food. (like they do at restaurants)

We had some craft tables set up in back. I figured the kids would be done eating way before the adults, and making their own ornament would keep them busy. Some of the young women agreed to help oversee that.

The Primary Kids agreed to be our "Little Lambs Choir". Holli from our committee made Little Lamb headbands for all of them too. They sang 2 little numbers and the bishop handed them each a candy cane as they got off the stage.

After the Little Lambs choir, we had a group sing-a-long to end the evening.

Here's where we came in for our budget:
Food (including candy canes) ...........$383
20 pies..................................................$120
sturdy paper plates.............................$20
paper plus 3 vinyl table cloths.............$15
Kids Crafts ............................................$35
raffia, paper sacks, misc decor............$20
good time had by all.............................priceless!
Oh - and on a side note...everyone seemed to like the haystacks, though none of them had ever heard of it before. I did learn 2 things - I needed to have more rice and next time use minute rice. Don't worry - the recipe on the link has been modified.
So, that was our party, and I was glad that those who came enjoyed it. It was simple and sweet and yet still a lot of work. My feet were killing me by the end of the evening, but everyone was so great in helping with the clean-up.
I've already got the next year of church activities planned out and can't wait to get started. I'll be sure to keep you posted!


Cindy said...

You constantly amaze me!
Looks like everyone sure did have a great time..

debilyn said...

excellent job!
you're now, officially, the hostess with the mostess =)

Anonymous said...

That is awesome!!!

Vickie said...

Sounds like a good party. Excellent planning. My oldest daughter is going to have her first communion in May, wanna come over and plan the party? Sure, I will pay for the airfare, he he.

My kids also made the candy cane ornaments. It is an easy and fun craft.

I was looking at your "The people I see where I go list" and I see there is an Adela on the list. that is my youngest daughter's name. I picked that name thinking it wasn't very popular. Now, I am seeing it all over the place.

The Willeyes said...

It was fun, and you did a great job!

Megs said...

oh i miss that ward. and great job on everything!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow that's amazing! You are incredible! COngrats on a successful party! Next time I have a big party I'm coming to you!

RhondaLue said...

You, my dear, are amazing! If you can plan a party for 300 people with a budget like that and pull it off....YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

P.s. when do you find the time Emma??

TravAndToni said...

My kids loved your party! You did a fab job pulling it off, for sure.

Not that we're counting here (because I'm sure the teenagers here are just too cool) but... 18 days! Woot!

hollibilly said...

We couldn't have done it without you! I think the party turned out great. Thanks for reminding me I still need to turn in my receipt to the bishop...

Kaye Butler said...

Excellent Job!!!!!

I'm proud of you. Too bad I couldn't help...but I seem to be trapped in the body of 71 year old. Check out my post today...

Susie said...

Sounds like you did an amazing job!!!

Megan said...

You totally pulled that together! Go you!! Looks like a great time was had by all! =D

Ruthykins said...

i like the idea of drawing on the tablecloths. that's cool.

jori-o said...

Okay, we need to chit-chat because I am the Activities chair too. Sounds like your Christmas party was a smashing success! What are you doing for 2009?