So, I haven’t posted since my birthday because I have been unbelievably busy getting ready for our 15th annual “Christmas in the Pines” outreach event. This is THE hugest event we do all year for our community. We basically transform our church campus into a light display. We display nearly half a million lights and over 4oo different displays. We also have a Winter Wonderland area with fake snow (hey, we’re in Florida…we do what we can). Our auditorium gets filled with Creches (nativity displays) from people in our church who donate them for the event (we give them back, of course). There’s plenty of music, food, t-shirts, games, etc. It’s a fun time. Most people know our church because of “Christmas in the Pines”.
It’s especially exciting for me this year because this is my first year to actually see it in action from start to finish. Last year, we were still in Kentucky…trying to discern whether we should move back down here or stay there. When we came down to “interview” and check out the church in December, the displays were up, but we didn’t really get to see much of it because we were busy almost the entire weekend we were down. Anyway, I am excited to be a part of it this year. We are having a staff workday next Tuesday to help set-up. Lots of work has already been going on since July! Crazy, right?
So, I have been busy making a Sponsorship Brochure for businesses & families to give them the chance to sponsor a display to help off-set the cost of this FREE event. That was a huge undertaking in itself. I was in charge of the laying out, designing, printing and mailing out of that.
The other print item I had to make is the Christmas Booklet. This booklet (8 pages) will be mailed out to at least 30,000 people in our community as well as given to every single person who steps foot on our property for “Christmas in the Pines”. This was an extremely important piece to do. It was challenging, in that, I hadn’t made a multi-page magazine-like printed piece all by myself before. I’ve made dozens of brochures, flyers, invite cards, etc. But never something like this alone. In college senior year, I took a class where our whole purpose was to create a magazine about Birmingham (the city my college was in). That was 12 pages, but I didn’t do it alone. This was also challenging because, like I said earlier, I haven’t technically been to “Christmas in the Pines” yet! I had last year’s booklet to go by, but last year’s was pretty sad-looking.
For the booklet, I was also in charge of laying out, designing, coming up with content, images, printing and coordinating the mailing of it. Yikes! I feel really accomplished though, and everything has worked out almost perfectly for it. I turned it in this past Thursday and there were a few things I needed to fix before it could print, but I was able to do it the same day and approve the proof on Friday. The printing company printed all 100,000 of them on Saturday (which they don’t usually do…they only work 5-day weeks) and they are folding and stitching them as we speak! The printing company is also delivering them to another company that is mailing them out for us and all we have to do is pick-up the extra to have here to give to everyone who comes to the event.
God is good and He has taught me so much through doing these projects. I have had to be completely humble and own up to my mistakes. I’ve learned more about the program I am using to create these documents (InDesign). It’s so rewarding to make something and know that thousands of people are going to touch it and hopefully read it…and then (probably) throw it away (I do it, too). I’m not patting myself on the back at all, because I could never have done this alone. Everyone in the office has been so helpful and spent many hours proofing, double-checking, printing and mailing.
So, now that my huge projects are done. I feel like Christmas is over, but just beginning for me. I will be happy to be a participant this year and am so thankful to be part of a church that reaches out to people in a different way. I love to think about the impact that this event has on our community and on the people who come and start coming to our church on a regular basis. That is just awesome.