The Clinton County Homemakers Club recently held its annual Christmas Village Friday night at the Clinton County Learning Center and according to Family and Consumer Science Agent Christy Nuetzman, there were more than 120 local youth taking part this year.
“We had more than we had last year,” Nuetzman said. “We had 128 kids and 217 total participants. Our numbers were good despite the last minute changes. We were limited in homemakers this year and very few were involved, but we had more teens from 4-H, the high school’s FCCLA Club, which is the FHA group of the past, and the Clinton County Elite Cheerleaders there … we had 30 teens involved.”
Nuetzman said once everything is finalized, the homemakers will have raised more than $1,400.
“Those funds are used for programs they do throughout the year, sometimes it provides 4-H scholarships or a scholarship to the graduating senior,” Nuetzman said. “Some of it is put back into the Christmas Village. We probably didn’t make as much money from it this year because we tried to price the items to make it as user friendly as possible that way kids could get the items they needed and not have to spend a lot of money. That’s the real purpose, to help kids have shopping opportunities for their parents and family.”
There were several activities for the kids to enjoy while waiting to be called for shopping, including a movie in the auditorium, pictures with Santa Claus and story time with a volunteer from Cumberland County, Mrs. Jingles (Barbara Booher).
“She volunteers to come from Cumberland County each year to do her songs and other activities for the kids,” Nuetzman said. “We also had some crafts there for the kids. We probably didn’t have as many crafts as we have in the past, but we had to work with the space.”
Another big area during Friday night’s event was the gift wrapping room. Nuetzman said there were several teens who volunteered to gift wrap the presents purchased by the kids for their family.
“I think everybody was very pleased with the event,” Nuetzman said. “Kids look forward to it every year. They put so much thought into what they buy, how it’s wrapped, what kind of paper is used to wrap it … they put a lot of time and thought into making that gift look its best for what ever family member they’ve purchased it for.”
Nuetzman said homemakers donate several items every year and they also donate the gift bags.
“They get all the items in here and they work to get them priced and they work to have a bake sale the last couple of years,” Nuetzman said. “I was excited to see more young people involved and I hope it sparks more interest in the community.”
Other than the homemakers and several youth groups involved, Nuetzman said her entire office chipped in to help make the event a lasting one.
“As a homemaker event, to be able to get the support from all of our programs and the other community groups, it’s a big win for the community as a whole,” Nuetzman said.
Nuetzman said the Christmas Village has been held every year since she has held her position at the Extension Office, but president of the homemakers club, Anna Norris, said the event has been held for the better part of 15-20 years.
“I know they took a few years off, but they’ve had one every year since I’ve been here, which has been since 2007,” Nuetzman said.
Norris has served numerous terms as homemaker president and was recently elected to serve another term, making her president until 2015.
“It was nice and I keep hearing really good things about it,” Norris said. “People keep telling me what a good time the kids had. When I was standing outside in my elf hat and the kids were getting excited … that made it worth it.”
Nuetzman said there is a core group of homemakers who keep the Christmas Village going year after year.
“Christmas Village, even though it’s a Homemaker’s sponsored event, community members can donate throughout the year,” Nuetzman said. “They are always happy to take items. They will welcome any type of decoration in order to get ready for the next year. Any level of support is always appreciated.”