After 40 years, over 270 different projects and 6,000 children the Mill Race Historical Society’s Children’s Christmas Workshop is still going strong. Children of the children who went through it 40 years ago are now attending or helping out. Between our illustrious Stone Gang and the dedicated volunteers (around 60 on the day of and many preparing projects beforehand) this year’s projects went off without a hitch. With the parents anxious to sign up their children, both morning and afternoon sessions of 150 children total, those who went through the workshop had a lot to be proud of on Christmas morning.
Each child makes seven Christmas gifts to give: a cookie cutter, an ornament, a food item, an out-of-doors gift, a kitchen item, a toy, and a universal gift that could be given to anyone. Parents register children in grades 1-6 and decide between a morning session and an afternoon session, each of 75 children spending two hours in intense activity. Parents aren’t permitted in the building, so that the bag full of gifts that the children leave with are truly a surprise. With the help of the wonderful Stone Gang the toy this year was a wooden train. For the “out-of-doors or garden” gift, it took two years to collect enough Pellegrino water bottles to create the wonderful bird feeder that impressed everyone, especially the children who coiled and curled the #6 AWG solid copper conductor around it. Our ornament would not have been possible without the donations of the old used Christmas cards that were made into beautiful Victorian style ornaments. Thanks to Poole’s Tavern and Kevin Clark for the cookie cutters this year for the children to hammer into a new shape as a Christmas stocking.
So, you see, it takes a “Village” to pull off our traditional Children’s Christmas Workshop. By the end of the day we were already talking about possibilities for next year.