Holiday Spirits Not Dampened by Rain

Although the weather presented some last minute challenges, it definitely did not deter neighbors from sharing cheer at the traditional Hyde Park Holidays Party.

The rain did, however, force a change of venue. And so, very pecial thanks is owed to Adam and Caroline Wilson for generously stepping in with very little notice, opening up the Griffin School to the community for this event. Not only that, they were extraordinarily helpful in setting up and cleaning up the space, making available whatever was needed for the evening. Many thanks are also due to the staff at the Elisabet Ney, preparing for the party at the museum up to the last minute change of venue.

Attendees were warmly welcomed to the event by greeters at the membership table, where we were reminded of the benefits of being part of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association. Moving into the kitchen, one discovered nibbles provided by Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, along with delectable cookies from Cookie Peace and scrumptious hot cocoa from the Chocolate Maker’s Studio. Kids watched a family movie in one of the classrooms, or played outside on the wide lawn when there was respite from the rain.

Guests then made their way into the library/common area, which was beautifully decorated: lighted paper stars hung from the vaulted ceiling, tea lights twinkled from the tables and windows, and fragrant garlands and oranges with cloves added scents of the season. At the stage in front of the room, violinist Laura Poyzer and cellist Amy Diehl entertained the guests, as kids played on the steps before them.

Although the “Wish Tree” was stationed at the Elisabet Ney Museum, the wish tag tradition started by Nancy Mims was continued from last year, where guests were invited to create a “wish” which would be placed on the tree. A common theme was “I wish for racial harmony” or “I wish for peace and happiness for all.” There were also practical requests such as “I wish that I pass all my finals,” and whimsical ones like “I wish I could fly.”   The wish tags are hung on the tree at the Ney through New Year’s.

As always, a theme of the evening was helping others, especially those in our own community. During the evening, over $350 in monetary gifts and donations were collected, along with many toys, all of which was donated to the Helping Hands Home, which is located in Hyde Park. This nonprofit organization strives tirelessly to make life better for the children in its care.   The gifts and donations were dropped off the next day and they were thrilled!

The evening would not have been possible without the team of volunteers. Led by the inspiring Tammy Young, the committee of Nancy Mims, Susie Roselle, Nhaila Hendrickse, Samantha Constant and Amy Diehl found time in their own busy holiday schedules to make this party happen. Hearty thanks also go out to the volunteers who greeted, set up at the beginning and cleaned up at the end.

It was a perfect way for neighbors to celebrate the holidays together and mark the transition from 2014 to 2015.

–Angeline Tucker