Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas In Nauvoo - Ward Christmas Party

We were put in charge of our church or ward 
Christmas party this year.
We needed to plan something with families
and have it be for around 250 people.

I immediately got on the internet and
found on Sugardoodle
a list of suggested Ward Christmas Parties.
One caught my eye since we had just been
in charge of the Pioneer Trek this summer
and that was
posted by Paige Moore.

Christmas of 1843 was the last Christmas
that Joseph Smith was alive and he recorded
in his journal being woken up that morning
by carolers and that he and his wife Emma
hosted a dinner for 50 in the Nauvoo Mansion
and that they had music and dancing all evening.

It not only had the theme idea
but it had a list of assignments for the
various committees and a program
and facts about old
Nauvoo, Illinois.

The first thing I wanted to add was a horse
and carriage for the evening to set the stage
for old Nauvoo.
 I had just used this wonderful
company this fall for a Miss Utah County 
parade event so I contacted them and 
we got their Vis a Vis Limousine carriage.
The carriage company, Burch and Sons is
located in American Fork, Utah and they
have a huge collection of wonderful

There was a line-up for carriage rides all evening.

One of my close neighbors was asked 
to play the prophet Joseph Smith.
He even grew his hair out and styled
it like Joseph's was styled in 1843.
A costume was rented from Hale Center Theater.

Nauvoo was famous for the beautiful
brick homes the people built while they lived
there so we printed out large rolls of red brick
on paper and decorated the various "stores"
we had around the church building.

Different organizations in the ward were 
assigned to be in charge of setting up and running
their "stores" and the Young Women 
organization went over the top with their
charming Scovil Bakery.

One of the leaders even brought over this
charming cupboard.  They made snowflakes
and hung them from the ceiling.  You felt
totally transported as you entered their room.

They were asked to have gingerbread cookies
for the children to decorate but they took it
a step farther and decided to create a
bakesale and donate the funds they
raised to needy families.

I love the wooden cash box they had in their bakery.

This charming tree was lit and in the corner with
a darling banner hung above it.

They even turned the chalkboards in the room into
windows in the bakery and hung lights around them.

You are looking out through this window!
Isn't this an adorable idea.  The round tables
were set up with plastic tablecloths
for the decorating of the gingerbread cookies.

We printed off whitewashed wood planks
for the Stoddard Tin Shop.  

Here the children could come in and make
a punched ornament or necklace.  You could
hear the pounding of little hammers down
the hall.  The kids really loved this one too.

These cute guys were all dressed in
period clothing and having a great time showing off for the camera.

The Red Brick Store was famous
in old Nauvoo and we had the Elder's Quorum
set it up like a store with barrels
of peanuts and candy.  Here you could 
bring toys and clothing and gently used items
for the needy and drop them off.

Back in 1843 large church meetings were
held in "The Grove" or out under the cover
of trees as there were no large church buildings.

Here the children played pioneer games.

Our postmaster was here to help people write
letters or emails to the many missionaries
we have from our ward serving around the
world.  One of those is my son who is serving
in Seoul, Korea.

The Bishop's Storehouse was a place where
you could make donations of food in 
Old Nauvoo which would be shared with
the needy so we had people bring
food and products the
Food and Care Coalition in town
need to help the homeless.

The Nauvoo Mansion was built to
house guests and visitors in Nauvoo.
We printed off stone blocks on paper
to create an entry for it.  The Mansion
was the cultural hall or gymnasium at the church.

And the stage was Joseph's room where
he was seated writing in his journal.
He was so great - he stayed in character
the whole evening and children said,
"Joseph is here, Joseph is here!"
They wanted to be up on stage by him.

We set up 24 long tables in a fan pattern
and the tables were covered with red tablecloths
and a wonderful roll of burlap.
Each set of tables had 3 silk wreaths and 2 glass 
hurricanes and one metal and glass hurricane with
artificial snow on the bottom of the hurricanes.

The candles of course were electronic.

The burlap ran down the serving tables too.

I created two tall urns with evergreens
and artichokes and lemons.
All candles have to be battery operated
in the church building for fire codes.

You can see the tables beginning to fill up.  
We also set up chairs around the edges.  Every
seat was used.  It was the best attended ward
party we have had.  You can also see a child
standing up on the stage next to the desk.  How
adorable is that?

We asked everyone to come in 
period clothing - at least no jeans for
men and no pants for women.  It really
added to the atmosphere.

The ward provided holiday ham and turkey and
fresh rolls from Shirley's Bakery.
Every family was asked to bring their
favorite holiday side dish or dessert.  
The tables were stuffed with delicious food.

As a follow up invitation, 
we sent out this "How to arrange a Christmas Dinner"
published in 1847.  It is fun to read through
 and see the traditional dishes mentioned. 
 I don't think anyone brought 
turnips, boiled onions or dressed celery!

My niece Shaunna did the designs for
both invitations, the signs for the 
shop doors and the brick, wood and
stone walls.  She was a fabulous help!

We had a group of carolers wandering
down the hall.

After dinner we had a short program that 
was included on the site I referenced.
We added to it with a song that our
Joseph (Del Moody) wrote about
Emma and then he stood at the end and
bore witness to Jesus Christ citing
Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24
"This is the testimony, last of all. that we give
of him: That he lives!  For we saw him, even
on the right hand of God; and we heard the
voice bearing record that he is the Only
Begotten of the father."

It was so powerful after the song about
Emma and it brought tears to many eyes.

These were our actors playing Porter Rockwell
and one of the military officers who were part
of the program.

The choir sang several numbers in the program

and the Young Women sang "Go Tell it on the Mountain".

Many said it was the best ward Christmas Party
they had ever been to.  

I hope if you need to do a ward party, 
and choose to do Christmas in Nauvoo, that this
will give you some ideas and inspiration.

Incidentally, A Christmas Carol by
Charles Dickens was also published on
December 19, 1843.
I had researched the costumes of the period
and then I went 
production by Hale Center Theater in 
Salt Lake this year.  
Their costumes really followed the
time period with their
hairstyles featuring the sausage curls, the waistcoats and morning coats for the men
and the women's dresses with lower
and pointed waistlines .  It was
fun to see how they would have 
actually dressed
up for a party in 1843.

I will be posting this with


Chocolat - French for Chocolate. I adored chocolate from a young age when I had to sneak in the cupboard to find where my mother had hidden the Nestle's Chocolate Chips. Having read about the famous chocolat shoppes in Paris, when I finally got there I was determined to try a chocolate from every Paris shoppe. I invite you to share my adventures in creating, in travel, and in life.


  1. Wowwww this is great !!!!.........amen !!!

    It's not what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful.......but what you have in your heart........x !

  2. Hi Jacqueline! It looks like you had a wonderful celebration and it's nice to know the missionaries are receiving so many messages from their hometowns. Our church allows the advent candles to be real, but we do worry about them, especially the wall sconces. Happy New Year to you and your family! Linda

  3. Hated to miss this night. I knew it would be incredible with you in charge! Love the pictures. So fun

  4. Incredible! What a blessing this was for all attending.

  5. What an incredible amount of ingenuity went into creating this special event!
    I spied that pretty quilt used in the Red Brick store right away.

    Would love to see a photo of YOU in your costume!
    Well done!!!

  6. Over the top AMAZING!!! Now tell me why I moved? I am glad it all came together! No need to go to Nauvoo for Christmas. Love you!

  7. What an amazing party! I loved seeing your photos, Jacqueline. Wishing your New Year to be filled with joy, peace, prosperity, and good health. :)

  8. Jacqueline,
    What a great idea. I may even suggest it to our committee! I guess they ask individuals and couples to be in charge of the specific ward events now.
    We have done the "Christmas in Bethlehem" multiple times and we always enjoy it. The older Young Men enjoy being dressed in Roman Guard outfits and arresting people to put in Prison during the evening! I can't remember what you had to know to get out of prison, but it was easy to get out.
    Yes, where is the picture of YOU in costume!
    I'll bet that was a great night for your entire ward.
    Oh, adding a song and short section to the program about Joseph Smith's Birthday, which is in December, and maybe a Birthday cake as part of the desserts might be a nice touch.
    You've got me thinking now!!!
    thanks so much for sharing! That is great.Betsy

  9. Ok, ok, I will add a picture of hubby and me! It is on his camera so I will have to wait for him to get home!

  10. What a fun event for guests of all ages. Everything looks very authentic until you get to the computer which is a bit advanced for 1843!

  11. Jacqueline, you did a fantastic job organizing and producing this party. What a success! You are certainly one very clever lady. Can't wait to see your photo later. ;-)
    Happy New Year!

  12. Fantastic! I sure wouldn't want to be the chairman who has to follow your act next year! Every single detail is totally delightful. The bakery shop is darling! Thanks for inviting us for a peek. Happy New Year! Cherry Kay

  13. Oh My Word! It is apparent that a lot of work went into this, and I'm sure everyone involved appreciated the work you did. What a wonderful celebration! You know you'll probably be in charge of this every year from now on. I loved seeing all of the costumes, and such a great idea to turn the rooms into different stores. People who attended will be talking about this one for a long time. Well done, Jacqueline. Congratulations! laurie

  14. I was so enthralled with this post that I forgot to tell you that I also enjoyed your Christmas slide show. So many beautiful photos. laurie

  15. Hi lovely lady.
    I also thing you did a fantastic job organizing and producing this party. Thanks so much for your sweet comments it's been a long time for me also. Hoping you and your family have a wonderful 2014 New Year.

  16. Wow! That was such a great tour of your party! Loved your Joseph and the burlap, red, and lamps were great for those big, long tables that I never know how to decorate. Your Joseph was amazing (is he from our Moody line. Loved all the rooms decorated as shops -- the backward writing on the chalkboard was so clever. What a great way to help out the needy and to honor Joseph, life in Nauvoo in the 1840's and help out the needy also. Shaunna's design work was awesome! Joni

  17. Jacqueline,
    You continue to amaze me with all of your ideas! This looks like it was a fantastic evening for everyone. I am sure there were lots of hours that went into planning such a large event as this. I loved looking at all the shops, the carriage rides, the costumes, the dinning room, and everything else you posted about the evening. It looks like it was a perfect evening for all.....starting with getting the gorgeous invitation! You and your hubby are such great party planners. I am sure that everyone who attended will cherish their memories.
    Katherine S.

  18. I am going to use this idea for our ward party! I am amazed! When you say you printed bricks, how did you do that? If you don't mind, I would love to know!


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