When my friend, Mary, invited us over for a potluck supper on the Feast of the Epiphany, we did not know it would turn out to be an evening of wonders, with old-fashioned games, a full-scale Christmas pageant, and even a visit from good St. Nicholas himself. My children and four other families had participated in an art exhibit at a local museum, and the gathering was planned as a way to celebrate afterward.
Here is one of the baskets we brought. Don't you love that Book of Kells tea towel? It was brought home for us from Ireland by my friend, Caroline:
We packed it with all the non-perishable ingredients for a Tea to Celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany [The perishables were toted in a far less photogenic cooler]:
After an afternoon of playing outdoors, the children came in for old-fashioned party games:
My personal favorite was the game of quotes. The children lined up in two teams with words from a famous quote on their backs. The object was to put themselves in the correct order without saying a single word to one another. [First team with the quote in order wins.] Here the girls show the mixed up words to Puck's famous quote, "Lord, what fools these mortals be!":
Next they had a scavenger hunt. All the objects on the list below were hidden in the living and family rooms. As a participant in this particular game, I will tell you they were not easy to find. The items were left in plain view, and the children were asked not to touch anything, so the game did not turn to chaos as it might have otherwise:
With the games completed, my friend Kari brought all the children upstairs to prepare for a beautiful, impromptu Epiphany Pageant, complete with poetry and hyms. They pulled names from a hat to determine roles and came down to perform for the parents.
I was amazed at how quickly they pulled it all together, right down to costumes. Here the parents wait for the performance:
The cast poses after a job well done:
While they were rehearsing, Mary, Caroline, Aleta and I set the table for the Epiphany Tea. You will notice we brought our Christmas pyramid along as a centerpiece. The children loved it, even when one of the candles fell momentarily and started to burn the surrounding wreath:
Here is our hostess Mary's clever take on "Baby Jesus in a Manger" for the Epiphany Tea, homemade gingerbread babes on soft beds of coconut straw:
Kari brought this traditional Buche de Noel:
Aleta made these almond studded jam tarts, a reminder of the host of angels in a starry sky:
[Although I do not have a picture, Caroline brought her famous scones, tiny "pillows" for the Baby Jesus.]
Agnes read her three letters to the Wise Men from last year to the younger children:
Just as we were getting to the last crumb, the doorbell rang. It was late, and we were not expecting anyone, so this was quite strange, but our hostess hastened to open the door:
Lo, and behold, there on the porch was a huge red bag full of presents for each and every one of the children and even the adults:
We did not see who left these welcome gifts, but the children were quite certain dear St. Nicholas had a hand in it:
Maureen was thrilled with her package of small toys and coloring book:
And the baby exclaimed ere she drove out of sight, "Happy Epiphany to all, and to all a good night!"