Invitations were sent out two weeks in advance. At first we felt like this may have been short notice but in the end we had probably 90% attendance – an incredible turnout that would have made Martha Stewart proud! We rented a swim & racquet club banquet room since the idea of having 50 little girls swirling frosting and sprinkles around a home seemed daunting! We bought two cookies for each guest and ordered them fresh from Suarez Bakery in Park Road Shopping Center (704) 525-0145. They were delish and peanut-free to boot. I would recommend purchasing the cookies or at least baking them the night before. I can’t imagine having this many young chefs in one kitchen! We bought every colored sprinkle in Harris Teeter, plain white frosting (if you’re feeling nutty, you can drop a few drops of green and red food coloring too!), gum drops, gummy bears, crushed candy canes, red & green M&M’s, chocolate chips and basically anything else you can think of that will stick to frosting. We scheduled an art activity for the girls to do first with hopes that this would engage them for at least 30 minutes. No, I don’t think so! This lasted maybe 11 minutes and turned into 40 girls running around singing and screaming! But it was a good thought. One cute activity would be to make reindeer food for Santa’s crew. To make reindeer food, in a small Ziploc bag, mix ¼ cup oatmeal, ¼ cup sugar and a sprinkle of red or green cake decorating sugar crystals or red/green glitter. Print out a little tag with the following poem and tie with Christmas ribbon:
Sprinkle on your lawn at night
The moon will make it sparkle bright
As Santa’s reindeer fly and roam
This food will guide them to your home
We also provided holiday coloring pages and crayons for a back-up activity in case we ran out of things to do. This was fabulous and for next year, we thought it would be good for the girls to make a Christmas card for all of the families who would be receiving their toy donations. This way, they would have to take a little longer on the art activity since they would have to draw their card from scratch. The longer activities are very important for a 2-hour party with 40 girls! Make sure you include lots of fun holiday stickers, cutouts, pom-poms and glue. The cookie-decorating was a huge hit – the girls ate one cookie (these cookies were huge) and we provided bags for the other one. Lunch was provided including sandwiches cut in the shape of Christmas trees, stars and candy canes (you can find super cool OXO cookie cutters for every season at Michael’s). Who am I kidding though? Not one little girl ate a single bite of their “lunch” so we’ll definitely scratch this for next year. All of the moms brought food and beverages for the adults since we are the only ones who cared to eat yummy food! Party favors were holiday cds.
The most important part of this event was the delivery of the gifts to the charity. Last year we donated to NBC 6 to Grown On Magical Toy Drive and we’ll do the same this year. The best part about it was the timing of the delivery of our donations, which happened as pure luck. Just as we were dropping off the toys, the Salvation Army truck came and picked up the toys. The girls (hostesses only) were so excited. We then got a spontaneous tour of the studio and watched the weather being filmed for the evening edition. So I dvr’d the 11:00pm news so we could watch the weather segment later. Well it just so happened that one of the segments that evening was on the families receiving the gifts from the Salvation Army. This was so incredible and such a full circle of events. I feel like the girls really got it. We will definitely make this a Christmas tradition every year.