Well one of my big projects of the year is now behind me. I was tasked with organizing the squadron Christmas party this year...again! Planning started in August and along with a few other ladies, we worked pretty hard to get this all together, epecially considering we live on Guam with it's "abundant" source of party resources! Let's just say we kept Oriental Trading afloat this quarter.
The theme this year was Candyland and what fun that was!! Seriously, who doesn't love candy? Or more importantly, what kid doesn't like candy? My friend Julie tasked herself with a mission to find enough candy for 100 children. Since she has a toddler and hungry labrador I had to keep all the candy in my guest room...disgustingly tempting for not only me but my poor dog who would go in there every day to sniff around. My guest room and soon my house was filled to the brim with decorations, craft supplies and of course candy! Poor Colin was a trooper!
So this past Friday 15 of us showed up after work to turn a very industrial space into an imaginary Candyland. I must say trying to decorate an aircraft hangar is one of the more challenging things I've done lately! With the help of some awesome sailors we set up countless tables, chairs, a bounce house, an obstacle course, Santa's corner, food table and of course, the candy buffet! We managed to get it all setup in 2 1/2 hours, of course pizza and drinks is always a great motivator. :)
The festivities began Saturday morning. One thing I really am happy about this year is that we were able to rope in a bunch of the single/childless pilots to help with the party. This way the wives can help with the pre-planning and then be able to be with their children during the party.
The kids started arriving at 9:00am and eventually we had 100 kids and their parents taking part in crafts, games and the candy buffet around the hangar. At 9:30am the children had a big surprise fly in. Santa himself hitched a ride all the way from the North Pole to come visit the children.
I would like to say they were a little bit excited:
Thanks to Steph for this pic, it's my favorite!!
The children each had a turn to come visit Santa, get their picture taken with him and of course, a toy! All I can say is our hero of the day is Jonny, one of the pilots who donned a velvet suit and beard in 90 degree weather.
A very serious picture of the North Pole flight crew
While they were waiting for their turn they took part in several crafts. They made frames for their Santa pictures, colored hot chocolate mugs and Christmas cards and made coconut reindeer. You mainlanders are probably envisioning something completely different from what this craft was. We brought in unopened coconuts and they attached eyes, a red nose, antlers and a scarf (in some cases it was a ninja scarf or bow tie)!
We originally came up with coconut snowmen but had some trouble getting hot glue to stick to spray paint. Unfortunately I discovered the problem was the green, unripe coconut we were using was too oily. It worked just fine on the brown ones so not wanting to waste supplies I made some as decorations and gifts for some of the key volunteers!
The children also kept busy with games. This year we had an obstacle course, a penny toss and a scavenger hunt in addition to the usual bounce house and bubble wrap run. The kids were to try and fill in answers to questions on the page and for the questions they couldn't answer, they'd have to go find a pilot or crewman to find it. The prizes were fantastic and it seemed to go really well!
The final "activity" if you will, of the morning was a pass by the "Candy Shoppe". Each child was given a "Golden Ticket" (Willy Wonka anyone??) to exchange for a candy bag. We converted Santa and Elf hats into handy candy bags. The funniest thing I found about the whole ordeal was the parents found the buffet to be more exciting than the children. And that's saying a lot. It was hilarious watching them "ask" the kids what they wanted to select. I suppose this may be a repeat in years to come, I guess the parents deserve some fun too, right?
Btw, aren't these photos awesome? My good friends Jeff, Andrea and Molly captured the day so well!
In the end I think the children had a fabulous time. We even got some great PR as some of the local papers published pictures from the event. I hope I have an opportunity to plan another party at a future command, if we could pull this off on Guam, the possibilities stateside are endless...