We had our Christmas party yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. The party itself was almost the same as last year with a local DJ that we hired to bring in speakers and music, Woodly and Milouse leading the program, some of our kids telling jokes/dancing/singing, food and drinks, and then a free-for-all at the end where everyone took turns doing their best dances. We have some pictures and some videos (we wanted to do FaceTime Live for everyone to see but our Internet is pretty poor) but they do not do justice to the actual party. When the party ends, all of our kids go back to our house to open the Christmas gifts they received from their sponsors and then go back to their house to enjoy them. From start to finish, the party is from about 1:00 to about 6:00, and it is a really long but really good day. Here are some of the highlights from this year:
- It was Elijah’s first birthday! What an incredible way to celebrate turning 1, with 80 of your closest friends, music blaring constantly, and singing and dancing everywhere. Malayika even serenaded him with Happy Birthday in both French and English.
- Woodly and Milouse were the MCs for the party and they did a great job.
- Before the party started, some of our kids left this morning at 7:oo with Lener to go and pick out 7 goats for the kids who asked for goats as their Christmas gifts this year. And yes we do have pictures of the goats pulling up to our house in the back of the truck.
- There were about 80-90 people in attendance along with the 7 goats and a few chickens.
- The kids were all really dressed up and looked beautiful, but one of the reasons the party lasted so long is that there were multiple wardrobe changes depending on what the next “act” was.
- Marjorie makes some of the best fried chicken you will ever eat.
- When it was time to eat, the majority of our older kids served everyone at the party before taking a bite themselves. It was a wonderful thing to see them take ownership in their party and their home and make sure everyone there had what they needed.
- Maekin has almost exclusively worn a Power Rangers costume since he received one as part of his gift, so if you are at the “A Taste of Haiti” (the Jacksonville Fundraiser) make sure you look for Maekin in costume in some of the videos.
- Our sponsors are awesome and made this another Christmas to remember. We feel like we ask you guys for so much and you always go above and beyond.
- One of the best things was seeing Tilene open Christmas gifts for the first time. She did not know what to do with the wrapping paper initially so Yolmenda helped her open her gifts this year, but by the end she was singing and dancing with her new toys.
- All you have to do is give Sophie a balloon, and she will be happy even with everyone but her opening gifts.
- Our team that was down here was just awesome. Jennifer, Kat, Christian, JT, Peter, Phil, and Jill did a great job of helping make the party a success, we could not have done it without them. Not to mention they did a lot of work for the fundraiser, fixed our toilet, cut and installed shelves for the kids, rat-proofed our house, gave the kids physicals, and made sure everything was ready for yesterday.
I’m sure there was a lot more, but I would encourage everyone reading this to make plans to come down next year on our Christmas party trip, you will not be disappointed. The kids are so happy (I’m not sure I have ever seen Apolon smile so big) and they have such a great time at the party and then to see their joy as they open gifts each year. It is just a lot of fun. Most of all, THANK YOU! Anyone reading this who is a part of All Things New, we want to make sure you understand how thankful we are for you. Our kids had a blast, and they experience the joy of knowing that there are people out there who care about them enough to take care of their needs and love them enough to want to do more.