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Catholic Activity: Parties

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Parties are another form of play which contribute to the development of a child's sense of hospitality and graciousness. There is a saying, "God sends everyone to the door," and the Christian welcoming guests to his party welcomes them in Christ's name. As a child of God, he invites his friends to share the bounty the Lord has bestowed on him, the warmth of his home, the food on his table, and the joy of fellowship.

DIRECTIONS

Just a few things make a good party: something that is fun to do; something that is good to eat; and being together. Simplicity and planning are the secret of successful party-giving. (One caution: children do not have fun in front of an audience, especially a bunch of grown-ups sitting around with a drink in one hand, waiting for the party to be over.) This is almost the only way to establish that pattern of entertaining at home which is such a bulwark of wholesomeness in the high-school years.

Parties planned around creative activities are not hard to manage with small groups of children, and young guests have the added pleasure of taking home a drawing, or soap sculpture, or clay figure, or even, for little girls, cookies they helped bake and decorate themselves. Parties for Indians to attend in full war paint are an ideal way of collecting children for a session of wild outdoor play. Flying kites, racing jalopies, dressing dolls — all kinds of quite ordinary play — become wonderful and new when done at a party.

One of the best parties we ever had was a Mad Tea Party. And it was mad. We had two Alices and a Mad Hatter in an old top hat, a sleepy dormouse (who, alas, did not fit in the teapot), a number of White Rabbits, a cardboard watch which we buttered, two unbirthday cakes, two tables with numerous odd cups (to which we moved after yelling "Clean cups! Clean cups!"), and positively no table manners. We even had the half cup, happily rescued from the Fergusons' trash as it was about to be thrown into the town dump. A delirious time was had by all, and our children were exceptionally well mannered at the table for days following the sky high limit for manners at the Mad Tea Party.

Parties to celebrate liturgical feasts are joyous praise and prayer and are lovely revelations to children who have not yet learned to celebrate them.

Activity Source: We and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland, Image Books, 1961

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