This year, I was asked to be in charge of our church Christmas party- which is huge! We decided what could be more fun than a Grinch Party! I needed to figure out the food, the decorations, the program, and how everything would work together. Today, I’m going to share some of my greatest tips for entertaining a crowd (on a small budget)- and how we transformed our church basketball court into Whoville!
Check out my tutorial for how to make this Grinch-inspired paper cone Christmas tree (tomato cages and paper) that greeted everyone by the door. I’ll be sharing it soon. It’s a simple, inexpensive craft that your kids can help with, too!
The invitation was printed on my home computer on cardstock. The cheapest place I have found to purchase cardstock is at Michaels Stores. They have a sale of 4 packages of Recollections cardstock for $10 ($2.50 each). I believe I printed out about 75 and when cut in half made 150 invitations. My handy paper trimmer was used to cut in half lengthwise.
My friend made these cute Whoville signs- a simple project that adds so much!
Large scale props were used to make a big statement. Since it’s such a big room, smaller decorations get lost in the overall room. As you know, I love using polystyrene insulation sheets to make large, lightweight pieces- like this awesome Whoville arch below.
We had about 10 Christmas trees making up our Who forest and also stage. We borrowed different, pre-lit, undecorated Christmas trees from a couple of people. We made it as simple as possible- someone was in charge of taking their trailer around to pick up the trees with help from the teenage boys. Then, we had them put up and take down the trees. We kept it simple and did not decorate the trees- that way they looked like a real Whoville Christmas forest!
Bright green wrapping paper made a great barrier and added color so we didn’t have to decorate over on the far side of the room. Aren’t these Grinch cutouts great?! My friend Danielle painted all the Grinch characters!
This amazing arch was painted and designed by my friend M’Kenzie. She cut the arch out of the foam sheets with a kitchen knife. She used four 4×8 sheets (2 inches thick) and put together. It’s as simple as: trace, cut out, paint. Scrap wood was placed on back to make it sturdy and to create a base. Check out other backdrops I’ve made out of polystyrene insulation sheets like this cute paper rosette backdrop.
The Mayor of Whoville (our Bishop and his wife) dressed up and were the official greeters. Wish I had a picture of both of them. They were darling!
People are starting to gather and visit with each other. The party will be starting soon! Christmas songs were played while we were waiting for everyone to gather.
We assigned all the food dishes out to members of our church- other than Roast beast (ham), our main course and green beans. We had a food committee that was completely in charge of all the food. When the foods were assigned out, it relieves stress off any one person. We had enough fun, colorful treats to impress the Who’s at their own Who Feast! The food committee made all the desserts.
I was so impressed with our volunteers! They went above and beyond to make everything fit in with our Grinch theme. I love this rainbow cake- too cute!
We set all the tables with long sheets of bright colored wrapping paper, alternating the colors of plates, utensils, and napkins. If you have to buy paper goods, you might as well make them cute! And I love how this “Grinch Pop” printable turned out. Don’t forget the little details! The paper cone crepe paper trees were also assigned out. We had church members sign up to make these. All the supplies were given to them ahead of time. We had three trees per table (green, red and pink)!
What’s a party without a fun photo booth? A photo booth is an inexpensive way to get people into the party and have a fun activity! Everyone loves it! Simply make a backdrop, print off some fun props, and let people do their thing. It’s even more fun if you know a photographer with a nice camera. Everyone gets great quality photos of their family to remember the awesome party. Heather M. and Jessica B. were in charge of the photo booth. Heather took the photos (including all the ones I’m sharing in this post) and Jessica helped with the decorating and props. Here are a few of my favorite photo booth pics!
These cute teenagers went all out! That poofy Christmas dress is perfect and those shiny elf slippers are darling. And THE hair! Oh my, just the cutest!
Dressing up is a fun way for everyone to be involved and is so cheap and easy! Everyone loves to see each others’ costumes and take pictures. We asked a member of our church be the Grinch. He was perfect and I couldn’t believe his voice sounded just like the Grinch! Isn’t this the cutest family picture!
Here is my husband, Bryan, and I all dressed up! Most of our costume came from a thrift store – which I found our outfits in all of about five minutes.
- My skirt was the bottom of a poofy pink prom dress. I just cut the top off- nice and easy!
- The lime green jacket (found at the thrift store) contrasted with my skirt. For a Grinch party, it’s best to find something that is bright, cheerful and different.
- I took bright green mini ornaments and strung them on hoop earrings (that I already had) to make fun, big Christmas earrings.
- The pink poinsettia flower was the perfect addition to a headband. Christmas-y and cute!
- I used a string of pom poms for a fun, fluffy necklace.
- I found a lime green polo shirt and blue beanie at the thrift store
- The tan docker pants are from the thrift store. Red Ritz dye was used to dye them.
- Orange fleece fabric was purchased from Hobby Lobby and it was made to look whimsical by hot gluing pipe cleaner to make the “blown-away” scarf. I love how simple these changes were and how it turned out!
Of course, we both had to have matching rainbow socks!! I wish you could see my hubby’s better. Check out this link to find the Neon Rainbow Socks we wore.
We had an awesome program! We decided not to have everyone wait in line to get their dinner. Getting 200+ people through a food line can be time consuming. So we decided to have the YM/YW (teenagers) start the program (before dinner), with a short song “Whoville Feast Song” (to the tune of a song from the original soundtrack) introducing the food.
My friend Heidi (who is quite the talent) wrote this song “Whoville Feast Song” to the tune of “Trim Up the Tree,” it’s one of the songs featured in the old animated video of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. You can hear it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-5SevCO1cs
Greetings to you!
It’s time to eat!
We’re serving you
A sumptuous treat!
Sit back, relax,
Get ready to enjoy a Wholville feast!
First on the menu
For your feast
Is juicy, succulent
Then we present Who Hash. And yes!
It’s fresh right from the can!
So dig right in!
Enjoy this meal we so adore
And if you clean your plate,
You’re welcome to get some more!
For your dessert
You may partake
So sit back, relax,
Get ready to enjoy……a……Who-……ville…….feast!!
Oh my gosh, this was so darling. I wish I had a video to share. We had 25 teenagers (boys and girls) sing this song while thy had the salad bowls in their hands. Each teen was assigned a table and delivered the salad after the song to their assigned table. They then went to the kitchen to get the “Who Hash” casserole and “Roast Beast” tray. The salad bowls were bright green and the red platters both came from the Dollar Tree. This was most everyone’s favorite part of the whole party- not having to wait in long lines to get their food and to see the teens participate in such a fun way! If we had to do it again, we would have two tables share all the food instead of one table. There were 8 to a table. The tables were set up end to end. So it would have been like one long continuous table. We had a lot of food leftover at the end.
Then, as everyone was finishing up their meals, the program began. The program was assigned out to a couple. They did a great job with a cute script, songs and two dance numbers. The young, primary-age children sang songs and performed a dance number. It was so fun to see them involved and they all did such a great job! Part of the script below was found online and the other part was written by my friend Jan. Not sure what belongs to who!
How the Grinch Found Christmas Program
Congregation sings: Sleigh Ride and It’s Beginning to
Look a Lot Like Christmas
Dear Friends, gather round and near
I have a new story you all need to hear.
Well actually it’s not a new story, per say.
There’s just a little more to it you haven’t heard til today.
It’s the story of the Grinch, you know who I mean,
Dressed in a Santa suit, all hairy and green.
Grinch enters and
looks on in disgust. Stays on stage looking at the audience
with disdain. (Grinch paces back and forth)
The Grinch we now know is jolly and kind
But there once was a time that he wasn’t,
So let’s rewind.
The Grinch hated Christmas. The whole Christmas season.
Now please don’t ask why, no one quite knew the reason.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason, he stole Christmas that year.
He stole Christmas and did not shed a tear.
The Grinch was determined to make Christmas simply
But the Grinch had made a huge mistake. This was not as
simple as throwing out a fruitcake.
As he sat on Mt. Crumpit just cackling with cheer,
the Grinch heard something he hadn’t expected to hear.
For down in Whoville they were singing and sounded merry,
And this made the Grinch mad. Oh he was mad. Madder
than a toothless tooth fairy. (Grinch stops and looks far off)
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling:
Grinch: “How could it be so?”
SONG: Where Are You Christmas?
Narrator: And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was
sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t
Grinch: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”
SONG: Mary Did You Know?
Grinch: “So it isn’t the ribbons? It isn’t the tags? It isn’t the
packages, boxes, or bags! The reason for Christmas is to
celebrate His birth, for He is the Savior, the Lord of our
Narrator: Twas then that his heart grew three sizes we say,
the knowledge of Christ is what made it that way.
So you see fellow whovillians, now you all know,
how the Grinch became merry and no longer our foe.
Presents and gifts help us celebrate the season,
but as the Grinch learned that day they are not the true
Primary sings Picture a Christmas and follows with first
verse of Away in a Manger, audience joins in on the
Congregation sings: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
Congregation sings: “Silent Night”
And don’t you love those decorations on the stage?! We wrapped big boxes, set up some trees, and hung long tablecloths and lights on the curtain. My friend Tiffany was in charge of the stage. It turned out beautiful!!
Of course, we had to have Cindy Lou Who sing, “Where Are You Christmas”. There was so much talent shared, and it was such an inspiring show! Cute sign by my sweet friend Julie.
The program ended with the Grinch having a change of heart. I loved seeing the creativity of others and their awesome talents! (Do you recognize the Grinch’s Santa Sack?!) Our title of our party was “How the Grinch Found CHRISTmas”. The program ended with being Christ centered and reflecting on the birth of our Savior. Christmas should be a time of generosity and celebration.
How do you do a BIG church party on a SMALL budget?
- Plan early. I like to start planning parties a few months in advance whenever I can, especially when it is a big party. You can find sales and get more creative if you give yourself more time.
- Invitations were created and printed two on a page (cardstock).
- Get volunteers! Ask who wants to help first. It will be more fun if others are invested in helping and want to be there.
- Delegate tasks and responsibilities. If you try to do everything yourself, you will get burned out. There are so many people that would love to help you carry that burden!
- When you delegate, give others their assignments early. When you give others plenty of notice, they can work at their own pace and be happy with getting their job done. I also assigned people jobs that had those skills. The artists did the art work, the great cooks, received the food committee assignment, etc.
- Get resourceful with decorations. Borrow and/or use your own treasures, DIY as much as you can, and find things on sale.
- Table decor was purchased at 50% off. The plastic table covers come on rolls. We had 25 rectangular tables set up. I purchased two rolls of table covers to cover all the tables. Individual table covers would have been a lot more expensive.
- Wrapping paper was then placed on top of the plastic table covers. Again, these were purchased at 50% off (Hobby Lobby) along with the paper straws. It really made a big difference on how colorful the tables were. Plates and napkins were purchased at Walmart.
- Printables were made to add to the sprite bottle (Grinch POP!), sliced ham (Roast Beast) and potato casserole (Who Hash)! I printed these out on my home printer.
- Cost – approximately $400 was spent on the Whoville arch, and ALL the table decor and plates/utensils- plastic table covers, wrapping paper, 75 centerpieces. plates, cups, straws, Roast Beast platters and Grinch Greens salad bowls. Not bad for approximately 225 guests. Everything else was borrowed or donated. The platters and salad bowls were purchased at the dollar store and will be used again.
- Food was approximately $325 for 225 guests. A lot of the food was donated that is why the low amount.
- Dressing up! At the bottom of our invitations it stated: Whoville dress is perfectly acceptable attire! Probably about 15-20% of the guests dressed up with some small or big Whoville attire. Of course, it is optional whether someone wants to dress up or not.
We had a few activity tables set up where we could write letters to missionaries and military. It was a great way for us to provide service and have fun doing it.
I was amazed and overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone that helped clean up after the party. Everyone was so happy and willing to help, so the clean up went really quickly. The cleanup honestly was the cherry on top that made the whole party worth it! It took about 30-35 minutes to take everything down and cleared out and about another 45 minutes to sweep, clean, wash dishes, etc. So not too bad.