The Jingle Bell Jubilee was another nonprofit event, but not as a fundraiser. This event was all about showing the clients helped by the nonprofit’s services that they were loved and appreciated, especially during the winter holiday season when a lot of people are alone. Everything for the Jubilee was donated or sponsored, from the venue to the amazing potluck dinner contributed by the staff, the board, and the clients themselves. I was the volunteer lead for the gifts / favors and the decorating, and I had no budget… but I did have a ton of help!

The Gifts

I had to come up with something creative for the gifts, because we had no sponsors and nothing to give. Luck was on my side as I had a year to plan AND I belonged to a craft group where we got together and knitted or crocheted. I approached first my friends and then the nonprofit’s volunteer manager with my idea, and everyone was eager to help.

We called our group “Hearts in Crafts”, or HiC for short, and began the “100 Scarves Project”. Our premise was simple: we had a little less than a year to knit or crochet one hundred scarves to give as gifts to the nonprofit’s clients. There was no budget, so all of the crafters would be donating both the yarn and their time to the project. We made it into a competition and I created prizes for the top three places.

It went better than I could have imagined! We met regularly to hang out, work on the scarves, share yarn sales, and compare scarf totals. We even had a tagging party where we created names for each of the scarves and labeled every scarf with a tag displaying the scarf’s name and who created it (so they would know all scarves were handmade). By the time we were done, not only had we made 100 scarves, we beat the goal and made 230+ scarves! And the scarves themselves were beautiful and all colors of the rainbow. How did we distribute them? That’s in the next section!

Here are all the scarves assembled at the event.

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The Decorations

Because there was no budget, I solicited help from the volunteer committee and we pulled together everything we had. Another volunteer had several mirror tiles that we used as the base of the centerpieces. I brought all of the votives and candles I had collected over time and I bought in the Christmas clearance (because I had a year before to plan) some potted Christmas trees, ball ornaments arranged in acrylic bowls, and some bronze statues. We alternated the arrangements and groups of lit votives for interest, added acrylic gems and a mirrored tile to each display, and tied a single scarf around every chair as a decoration (we didn’t tell the clients they were gifts until the end of the show). You can see some of this below.

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The Results

Everything pulled together wonderfully, especially when the lights were low and the candles were flickering. The arrangements worked well as centerpieces and didn’t get in the way of everyone’s plates and drinks. And when the M.C. announced that the scarf on the back of each chair was a gift? People were so excited, they immediately pulled each scarf off, comparing the scarves with their neighbors, and even trading scarves. There were a lot of smiles at the end of the Jubilee, and I would definitely call it a success!