September 19, 2019
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Christmas here is for kids: in Operation Liftoff style

At year’s end, Operation Liftoff throws a Christmas party for all the kids and their parents. The party offers families a chance to meet each other, and an opportunity for everyone to meet the kids. Last year, 113 people attended.

Planning begins in mid-November for the big bash held at the David Road Community Center in Bangor. Since each child receives an individually-selected gift, Sharrlyn Parsons said that shopping is a “fun challenge.” In 1995, like Santa’s elves, Sharrlyn and the wish coordinators shopped for 87 children. Some businesses, including Wal-Mart, discounted their purchases.

The next step, Connie Lawrence and Sheila Mahon, wrapped each gift individually so that each looks different. “The trick is to make it look like Santa did his work,” Sharrlyn said.

The festive occasion always includes entertainment, like a magician. Kids are invited to decorate people-shaped sugar cookies with frosting, sprinkles, and coconut. “It’s messy,” Sharrlyn said, “but it’s fun.” To calm everyone before lunch, children gather around and listen to the classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” “Anticipation is high, the excitement level is soaring!”

Two different buffets are set: one for adults and a special one for kids that includes finger foods, applesauce, and jello jiggles. Last year, special guests, Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse appeared to sign autographs, pose for pictures, and hug all the kids. Naturally, Santa arrives to deliver the gifts and wish all a Merry Christmas.

The Christmas party has hosted more children with each successive year. Finding new entertainment becomes an annual challenge. The board is seeking suggestions and/or volunteers who want to perform or provide some other type of entertainment to make these children’s Christmas dreams sweet. If you have a great idea, please call Sharrlyn at 848-7144. Thank you.


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