My daughter plays in our city's youth symphony, and their biggest fundraiser is this luminaria sales event, which culminates every December. Luminarias, in case you don't know, are Christmas lanterns. (In El Norte, they are called "farolitos," which is what I still want to call them.) They're brown paper bags weighted with sand, each holding a votive candle. People line their walkways with them, cities use them to decorate downtown plazas. They're a lovely, subtle light, prettier and softer than glittering electric bulbs.
See how nice they are? I nicked this image from the web — ours are even nicer. These luminarias only have a single fold at the top: bad. The folds are all different widths: bad. Our youth symphony's luminarias are all double-folded at the top, and the folds are all the same width. The kids (and their parents) spend the weeks leading up to delivery day carefully folding all these bags ... our own family folded hundreds of dozens of bags. Then the kids (and their parents) make the sales calls. On Luminaria Day, all the families assemble the luminarias at one of the ten or so workhouses. This year we were a workhouse. We got a load of sand, bundles of folded paper bags, boxes of candles, and hundreds of delivery trays. Each pre-folded bag was opened, filled with a precise amount of sand, topped with a candle, arranged on a tray, and delivered — by the families, using their own transportation — to each customer's house. We deliver thousands and thousands of luminarias. It's pretty much all volunteer-run, and helps support the kids' tours (this year they are playing at Carnegie Hall!). It's also a huge amount of work.
|Sand delivery: now we scoop it in the bags|
|Assembled luminarias in my garage|
The next day was my husband's birthday, and we put up our Christmas tree, so that was two happy-making things in one day. My little four-family spent the day hanging stockings by the fire, singing carols with Bing Crosby on Pandora, and cooking yummy birthday food. (The adults enjoyed some mulled wine.) It was the perfect way to end the weekend.
We have a rather schizophrenic set of Christmas tree ornaments, which is another thing that makes me happy. It gets weirder every year. In this photo you see a cowboy boot, a devil, an angel, a perfectly standard sphere, and (the pièce de résistance) a star-of-David handmade ornament. That one came from my daughter's kindergarten class ... I guess the teacher was being ecumenical? I think it's awesome.
So that's my week in happiness. How is your week going?