Monday, November 5, 2012

AM~Erica Made a Holiday Spectacle for a Good Cause

So anyway...

Halloween & like-holidays are over. And we should be focussing on a turkey-adorned table & enjoying the rest of fall. Right? But that is not, Not, NOT how it tends to work!

As soon as the calendar turned to November, Christmas carols are being piped thru store & mall speakers, trees are up in force & Santa is already greeting the kiddos. Store displays have shoved the fall stuff (including any Thanksgiving-based merchandise) to a corner to make way for the abundance of winter-holiday merchandise to entice consumers to, well, consume. Layaway is back in full swing with the weathered economy, and crowds came out in force on November 1.

But that tends to lend to tradition for the last several years. And we all have our own traditions around this time of year. And sometimes we find that those traditions may have to change or look differently due to circumstances. I'd like to share one of them with you:

When I was 18, my mom's Beta Sigma Phi sorority chapter decided to do a "cultural program" of meeting for breakfast & then going to this new holiday event, the Festival of Trees, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was an event of several decorated Christmas trees & wreaths by many decorators & sponsors put on by Marillac at Longview Farm. My mom called me & made me get out of bed to meet these women  for breakfast & then join them for this "thing". See, I was still a teenaged Gen-X'er. I was NOT happy. I didn't even get to shower before hand. So that didn't help with feeling...well...bleh. But I joined them, reluctantly. However, it led to years of enjoying a lot of trees!!

Since that year, my mom & I (sometimes joined by others) would have lunch & walking around, enjoying &/or criticizing trees: the decor, the theme, the title, etc. Then we heard (about the 9th year) that it might be the last year at Longview. So sad since the ambiance was always so fabulous for this kind of event. But we figured it was done. A new-found holiday tradition for many would be thrown to the wayside before its decade anniversary. And then, what would have been the 10th year, we found the news was true. No more Festival of Trees. So we did not get to enjoy trees that year...

However, finding out too late, we discovered the newfound Enchanted Forest at Union Station was the Marillac event of trees! Going for 3 weeks & we MISSED it! Why? The advertising of it was not done very well. At. All. So we missed the 10th year anniversary. But we started going on the 11th year. Still doing it on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We even worked going when I lived in St. Louis...but we had to go on Black Friday due to travel scheduling. No matter...we still worked it in!!!

In all of those years, I had been thinking. Scary, I know. I wanted to do at least one tree. I had (and still have) many tree theme ideas. But we just couldn't get it done.

For the 19th year of the Enchanted moved...again. This time it moved to the other side of the state line. This time it would be in Overland Park, KS at the convention center. AND? It would be a "lead in" to the Holiday Boutique. AND? It would only be held for ONE weekend close to the beginning of November! Another tradition shake up.

Now, in it's 20th year...and back at it's early time in OPKS, my mom & I bit the bullet & DID A TREE!!!

I've talked about it for probably 18 years. Seriously. And I wanted something different. So, I went to an idea that my friend, Brad, gave me. He actually thought he was going to throw me off. We had a discussion several years ago about these trees; so he wanted to "test" me (as usual) by coming up with an idea so "out there" that there was no way I could think of a title. He came up with a tree with eye glasses all over it. I took NO time in spitting out, "Holiday Spectacle." stuck.

So...this past weekend, my mom, Teen Girl & I went to OPKS to decorate our "Holiday Spectacle".

Here it is:

*4-ft, prelit tree
*neck-holder chains as garland
*white-framed reading glasses as "eye-sicles"
*sunglasses as ornaments
*clear ornaments containing cleaning cloths
*"flowers" made from cleaning cloths
*giant novelty glasses as the topper
*plain green felt tree skirt with free-form, hand-painted eye glasses 
(done mostly by Teen Girl...she did an AMAZING job) 
with neck chain holder border 

All eye wear, neck chains & cleaning cloths from the dollar store. Seriously.

This pic of the finished tree does NOT do the tree justice. It turned out so adorable!! You should go see it in person!! And maybe bid on it, as all the trees & wreaths are up for silent auction - proceeds going to support MARILLAC.

Our Holiday Spectacle will be only one of many, MANY trees & wreaths on display from Thursday, November 8th thru Sunday, November 11th. 
The Enchanted Forest is FREE! 
You do need to buy tickets for the Holiday Boutique, only if you choose to attend that portion of the event. Plus, you can go to do what we have done for so many years: walk around, enjoy, critique, and get inspired for the holidays. Maybe even bid on any of the fantastic creations! Plus you can see if you agree with judging...because there are awards given to trees & wreaths in different categories. 

I'm not looking for any prize this time...I'm just excited to be an actual part of the Enchanted Forest! It only took 20 years.

And...maybe a new tradition has begun...

Stay tuned...
(hoping for more after the reception later this week)

God Bless, AM~Erica

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