Saturday, December 10, 2016

Santa's Kitchen

Aide and volunteer set up the sink
  •  Program Goals
    • Offer a community holiday program
    • Offer a weekend program to finish off the programming season
    • Encourage new families to visit the library and connect
I was sure I'd written this program up earlier than 2013, but either I lost it when I transferred to this new blog or I just dreamed that I did. That happens to me a lot - I'm very productive in my dreams. This is our traditional end of year holiday program. I do it on the 2nd Saturday in December and it usually marks the end of our programming for the year. I've been doing it for quite a while - in 2010 we did gingerbread houses (hugely popular but a massive time sink) and then starting in 2011 we switched to cookie decorating. I added ornaments in 2012 and I used to do fancy wire stars but now that I have a big ornament program the Thursday before we just do pipecleaners.

Project: Ornaments
  • Pipecleaners, beads
  • wrapping station - wrapping paper, tape
Project: Cookie decorating

Supplies
  • 250 plain sugar cookies in holiday shapes and 6 lbs red, green, and white frosting ($100)
  • Cookie decorations - m&ms, sprinkles, chocolate chips ($15)
  • Holiday plates, napkins, and tablecloths (3 yards per table if you're doing wrapping paper)
  • Paper plates, plastic bowls, plastic spoons
Setup
  • Two small tables by the door for cookie serving, sink and trash can behind, window seat at far end for Nutcracker display (chair and piano bench), dancers in lobby (leave far door locked, chair barrier). Tables lined up against wall with bulk for cookies, 3-4 for ornaments.
Evaluation

  • 12-10-16
    • Attendance: 70
    • Notes: We set up the tables the day before and I had everything ready on a cart. I only had 1 aide to help me. Disaster struck in the form of a bad batch of cookies - I left a complaint with the bakery and will definitely check before opening them next time! But people went with it. I feel like there are fewer people than in previous years - really only about 40-50 and then you add the dancers. Is it possible I may not have to do this next year?
  • 12-12-15
  • This is my aide who's also a dancer
    shelving in her tutu
    • Attendance: 96
    • Notes: The recreation department put the wrong time in their program listing and didn't show up to do their wrapping station. I went longer (past noon) because of the wrong time but only one family asked about the wrapping station. I forgot plastic spoons. Our local grocery store donated the cookies and frosting which was AWESOME. My aides have requested that we use holiday tablecloths instead of wrapping paper, which is an additional expense, but might be worth it. I started around 8:30 and 1 aide came at 9. We only were ready in time because my second aide, who is one of the dancers, came in and helped.
  • 12-13-14
    • Attendance: 70
    • Connections/Feedback: Several return visits, new people, and a family I have been trying to coax into programs for months (there's a language barrier).
    • Notes: Our local ballet studio asked to be involved this year and I could fit them into the lobby, where we'd had carolers in past years, and it meant I didn't feel a need to have music or a movie playing in the community room, which meant less chaos. I need to remind staff that registration is never "required" (and I could probably take registration off for this one) as some people wanted to come at the last minute and were told they couldn't, even though I had space. We had a lot of cookies left over and with the extra stations of the dancers I could fit more people in. 
    • This year I had already spent a lot of money on ornaments for the Messy Art Club and didn't have access to the local place where I usually buy the wire stars, so we did a simpler ornament craft - paper chains and pipe cleaners to make the beaded stars.
    • My director and aide both started at 9 to help set up and I scheduled the aide to 1pm, which worked well. The Toe to Toe dancers were a huge hit and would like to make this an annual event, which is awesome.
  • 12-14-13:
    • Notes: I started setting up with my aide at 9am and was barely done in time to start at 10:30. Next year I need to either have two helpers or start earlier. I also only scheduled her to 12, but that's when we finished and we still needed to clean up! Next year I'll schedule her to 1 and/or have another person. I also bought mini Reese's pieces on a whim and it turned out I had a lot of mild peanut allergies among the kids, so that won't be a decoration next year. We got TONS of free sprinkles from the school, so I won't need more sprinkles for another 20 years...
    • I thought about having the kids decorate their paper plates, but turned out we didn't need an additional craft. The high schoolers have come and sung carols for us before, but I wasn't able to set that up this year. The parks and recreation department sent over wrapping paper for a wrapping station and while it wasn't hugely popular, enough kids did it that it was worth rearranging to fit it in.

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