Sheltered Workshop Party – The True Christmas Spirit
By Carol Honza
In our society today, it is hard to find true wonderment and joyful excitement for the Christmas Season that is not associated with Malls, last minute shopping, hustle and bustle, and the like. True wonderment and a true spirit-filled joy of the season comes far too rarely to many in these troubling times.
So, it is refreshing to be part of some Christmas festivities which bring to light those who find joy and fulfillment in the most gentle of ways the Spirit of Christmas is exhibited. For 364 days out of the year, clients of the Sheltered Workshop of Ennis, mark their calendar days off one- by-one until the next Annual Christmas Party they will attend at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ennis. The Annual Sheltered Workshop Christmas Party is always planned and prepared by the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and Knights of Columbus of Ennis. For them, it has been a gift of love for over 30 years – so by now, it is not just a party – it is an annual reunion, of sorts. And, it is a very special event for the clients of the Sheltered Workshop, who span Ennis, Palmer, Waxahachie and Corsicana areas. However, it is also an event relished by the parents of clients and for the many visitors and guests who also attend. This event is looked forward to — like Christmas itself – especially by each one of the clients! They cherish every moment of each party – year after year…
As years have gone by, the party numbers have grown –..this year 41 attendees of the Sheltered Workshop attended the party held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on December 16th. Clients came from various locations in Ellis and Navarro Counties, and were of varying ages from young adults to middle age.
Catholic Daughters and Knights of Columbus members provide annual supplies gifts to the Sheltered Workshop for the clients, along with the planning and preparing of the Annual Christmas event. A voluntary band provides musical entertainment for the evening’s program. Band members this year were: John Marek; Kevin Marek; David Slovak; Anthony Macalik; and Jared Prachyl.
Somehow visitors are drawn into the excitement and wonderment, as the clients inhale each moment of the evening, as if it were magic. They come dressed for the occasion in their party clothes, bring their best appetites to enjoy the great feast prepared for them. They relish — in great anticipation, the fun and excitement and wonders of the evening set out just for them, consisting of a musical “Cookie Walk,” (with live band assistance), a musical sing-a-long of Christmas songs,“O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, White Christmas, Jingle Bells, etc” shared with the entire audience, building up to the entrance of– the Grand Olde Man Himself – TA-DAH!! the hero of the evening – SANTA, who arrives just in time to hand out individual presents to each client – while giving a comfortable knee and a short personal visit to each.
When the evening is over…sadly, they leave, with their “goodbyes” to their friends, their gifts and cookies in hand, their memories of such a beautiful evening tucked safely in their hearts — to replay later in their dreams. All too soon, they know they will start marking off their calendars once again, day-by-day until next year’s party…
Guests are in awe at the spirit of excitement which the clients bring to this event – the Workshop’s Annual Christmas Party — a spirit that maybe we can only remember from oh! so very long ago. This spirit is a gift to us — a by-product of their hearts and their gentleness. Their wonderment, joy, and enthusiasm of the season is genuine, and is sincerely felt and enjoyed by all who attend. May you all