Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Celebration of Thanks


Nothing like a church potluck. Of course, you can always choose to do things a bit differntly (like have your ladies (or men) prepare a big meal),but nothing beats the church potluck. You will never eat so well. So how to make things special?

Decor
I have to confess to having a bit of an obession with fall decor. I have pumpkins. Willow pumpkins, glass pumpkins, metal pumpkins, wood pumpkins...even paper mache pumpkins. Any church we have ever pastored soon found itself with a wide array of fall decorations also. It's not always possible to spend a lot of money on decorations for your tables so here are some things I have done in the past.
A really cheap and attractive start is with your table covering. Even if you have plain white plastic table clothes consider buying some of those long paper table coverings from a party store. They will hve everything from cute and country pumpkins to stylish leaves and cornucopias. Cut them in half and you have instant table runners. If they are the kind that have a white center, just use the printed sides. Save the white centers to cover your food tables. If you can afford to purchase matching napkins or napkins in similar colors. Party stores also have the paper place mates, but a table runner is just enough. Make a passionate plea for any spare fall pretties folks might not be using (or can loan just the evening). If you wish to start collecting some decor for every year try and do so during the last few weeks of the season when it is really marked down. Don't wait too late...I've spent many a madcap shopping trip scrounging through leftover fall foilage. A store like Hobby Lobby is wonderful about having half price sales. One year I got dozens of willow pumpkins for just a few dollars a piece. We were having a community Thanksgiving service and needed lots of decorations. Check out dollar stores. I purchased stand-up scarecrows for little or nothing one year. Don't be afraid of the great outdoors either. Use pretty leaves (be sure to cut the day of!) or pinecones and acorns. One of the prettiest Thanksgiving dinners we ever had though came from a big "oops" on my part. I had planned an event for another church and used some of my best stuff doing these gorgeous tablescapes with garland made of leaves, pumpkins, candles,fabric, etc...thinking I had plenty of stuff to do our own dinner at church. Imagine mydismay when I discovered upon inspection that I completely had blown it. Nothing left but a few scrawy leaves and a pumpkin or two. A friend and deacon's wife had a brilliant idea. A local florist was willing to loan us however many flower arrangements we needed, as long as we mentioned her shop. We added a few elegant candle holders and wow! We had gorgeous tables. Don't be afraid to mix and match any supplies you might have...the tables don't have to look the same!

Treats and Treasures
I love to make every occasion with the church family a special one. One way you can do this is to send them home with a favor or something special. I have a couple links below that will give you a few crafty ideas for treats and treasures.


http://pie.midco.net/grammalowe/thanksgiving.html

http://www.printables.thecraftcafe.com/thanksgivingtablesetting.html

http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=10500

http://www.paperandmore.com/articles/box_templates/


You can have your missionette (or girl's group) help prepare favors or placecards...Sounds like a badge in progress to me!

The Service
You can choose a guest speaker or have a short service, but I have found the most touching services to be those that were filled with testimony and song. You can ask for volunteers or select a group that can testify about God's goodness during the past year...We all should have something to say! Be sure to leave plenty of time to fellowship...encourage your folks to invite friends and family. This is a perfect time for those who wouldn't normally come to church to be introduced to your church family.

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