Monday, December 8, 2014

Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I recently took over the role of Children's Ministry Director at our church and there was a date on the calendar that had already been planned that was given me anxiety just looking at it: Servant's Ball. Servant's Ball was planned to hold an appreciation event for the Sunday school teachers and volunteers. Now, don't get me wrong! I DO appreciate every single one of my teachers and volunteers, more than they will ever actually know, but the vision for what had been planned wasn't mine and I wasn't sure how to go about it all. It was a fancy sit-down dinner with the kids performing a skit/song as the entertainment. Oh, I love to sing! Give me a karaoke machine and some Judds and I'll go to town but teaching kids how to sing, dance and act on stage? You'll want to call the next person on the list! I just wasn't up for that challenge.

As time does, it marched on and we kept flipping through the months of our calendars and the Servant's Ball kept getting closer, and closer, and closer. Finally, I went and talked to a mentor on staff and told her my concerns. She told me, "Change it up! Do it your way! Make it your own." And, with that I felt like I had the permission to do just that and I decided to change it up! I scoured pinterest and google'd lots of appreciation event ideas and decided on a fun, relaxed, family-style movie night in the sanctuary on the big screen.

Instead of pews our church has stacking chairs so I was going to set a few of the up like couches for the kids, tell them to bring pillows and blankets, and bring in three over-sized, comfy chairs from home. From the church I was going to bring my sofa from my office (my husband was willing to carry it down the stairs even!!) and use some wing-back and soft side chairs from the Welcome Center to create a relaxing at-home style set-up. There was going to be hot dogs and popcorn with a candy bar for people to sweeten-up their salty, buttery popcorn!I even found a red carpet to throw down to welcome them! I had a few other things planned for decorations and was getting excited now!

But, like a lot of my grand plans, life gets in the way. All of the teachers and my schedules weren't synching up so instead of setting up a movie night at the church, I created a movie night in a popcorn bag for them to enjoy at home! It's filled with the movie we were going to watch the evening of the event, "Moms' Night Out," a popcorn bag with a printable from Pinterest I found, some of their favorite candy and a family game.

I sent out an email a couple months prior asking teachers to fill out a survey (Print the PDF version here) of a few of their favorite things so I'd know what they liked for sweets. This also comes in handy the remainder of the year to reference for birthdays and random gifts of appreciation. I also added a Melissa and Doug "Faith Edition" Family Dinner Box of Questions for families to enjoy throughout the years. It's got conversation starter questions like, "What do you think Heaven will be like?" and "What is your favorite story about Jesus and why?" I figured the mini size would fit better in the bag and it would fit in the "junk drawer" every kitchen has (admit it!!) for families to pull out and have some quality time together around the dinner table. It will be neat to see how the kids answers change over the years too! If you are filling up another size bag or using for another gift idea there is a regular size game too. And, of course a bag of popcorn to pop before they start the movie.

Then, to wrap it all up I used my cricut to cut out 3" circles, some in solid red and some with red and white polka dots, and 2" letters in a shimmery yellow of their first initial and tied them up with cute yellow polka dot ribbon. The candy and the popcorn I got at the grocery store and the white fluffy filler and ribbon I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

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