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Behind the scenes at CITC

If you’ve ever planned a party – Thanksgiving dinner for the extended family, a birthday or graduation party, a major event like a wedding – you know that there’s an awful lot of behind the scenes work that goes on to make sure that everything goes smoothly. Guest lists, food, decorations, gifts, entertainment… Even if it’s “just” a first birthday party for your little one, things can get pretty complicated. Now increase the number of guests exponentially, throw in that you’re responsible for making sure that everyone gets to the party on time, and, while you’re at it, schedule another major event for the next day, and you’ll begin to get some idea about what goes on behind the scenes at Christmas in the City.

We’re actually planning for our party throughout the year, but we really swing into full gear in the early fall. That’s when those who take the lead on various aspects of the party start making their lists – and checking them more than twice.

Just think about it.

At the Christmas in the City party, we’re hosting thousands of kids and their folks. They’re coming from dozens of different homeless shelters, and that means lining up an armada of buses to get them to the party and back.

When they arrive at the party, they’re welcomed to a Winter Wonderland, where the decorations go way, way, way beyond a tree and a few pointsettias! We do have trees and pointsettias – lots of them – but we’ve also got inflatables: Santa, a snowman, and, yes, even the Grinch. Balloons everywhere. Confetti. You really do have to see it to believe it.

What’s a party without entertainment? For CITC, that includes costumed characters, musical performances, amusement-park rides, and lots of activities for the kids.

Then there’s the food – lots of it.

And presents. Lots of them, too. Each child receives a gift from his or her personal wishlist. We want to see a smile on all those little faces, and to make that happen requires a tremendous amount of planning, execution, and co-ordination.

For most of us, when we’re giving a party, after it’s over, we do clean up, then kickback and relax.

Not for Christmas in the City.

The day after the party, we run Monday Mania, where we distribute gifts for thousands of families who may not be homeless, but who are in need of some help – especially when Christmas rolls around.

Did we mention that everything that goes on behind the scenes is taken care of by our 1,000+ volunteers? If you’d like to become one of them, you can find the list of volunteer opportunities here.

And just in case you’d like to see what goes on both behind and in front of the scenes at the CITC Party, check out this YouTube video: