A Star Upon the Highest Bough: Creating Community at the Holiday Bazaar

by Judy Shaw

Thanks to all who contributed and participated in the Harvest Holidays Bazaar! You responded so generously to the pleas for art, crafts, baked goods, and the treasures you were ready to pass on. You sang, strummed, tootled and tickled the ivories. You made delicious soup and took fabulous photos. You made so many people happy!

The Harvest Holidays Bazaar and Auction brought in almost $10,000 for the church. They also spawned many stories of people coming together, working together, getting to know each other. Here is just one story that captures the spirit of the events, and also of the holidays they celebrate:

A bazaar is foremost many kinds of fun best enjoyed with other people. For the season, offering a greenery crafts room seemed an obvious choice. But it’s one thing to make a decision, and another one completely to make it happen. The first of many “serendipities” began as we sought out materials. A committee member who enjoys hanging out at Mecca stumbled into a trove of wreath forms, florist wire and ribbon, and bought the lot for this and future years. Others kept their eyes open for pine cones on walks at Spencer Butte, near Fern Ridge, and at neighborhood parks. For the greens themselves, someone suggested finding an overgrown tree farm with a friendly owner. How hard could that be?

Not too hard: someone’s neighbor had recently purchased just such a farm and welcomed a crew to trim the overgrowth. An enthusiastic group of retired UU’s were recruited, trucks borrowed, clippers and ladders collected. Our host offered along-handled chainsaw to reach the stray boughs, 30 feet up. He recommended, to our dismay, that we acquire strong biceps and powerful torsos.

Some well-placed inquiries later brought us “Jim,” who needed a job and had not only the requisite torso and biceps, but experience in the woods. Finally, after four hours on a Thursday morning, a truckload of fresh greenery arrived at church – ready for the wreath-making workshop that would prepare our craft room volunteers for Bazaar Day.

The simple desire to make a wreath took people outside,found a use for recycled treasures, helped a neighbor trim some overgrown trees, and gave work to a man who needed it. At the end of Bazaar Day, UUCE counted up a good profit. Even better, we made community in more ways than we can count.