Our Crazy Christmas Fundraising Adventure!

To say that December 2018 was an adventure would be the understatement of the new year.

What happened in my house during the Christmas month was borderline chaos, but also our biggest learning curve yet! Not me, my mom, dad or brother left Christmas without learning something new and that is something that I am so grateful for despite the actual struggle that it was.

Which brings me to the beginning of this narrative: Just like most if not all of the things that happen in my family, it started with my mom, and her genius idea!

That sounds sarcastic; It was genius!

Near the end of November, just a few days after my birthday, I get a call from my mom- because she was too excited to wait till she got home to tell me her fundraising idea; “We can sell Luminarias around the neighborhood for Christmas eve! You know, like they do in Manchester and Grandma and Grandpas house?”

I did know. I’ve grown up with stories my mother and her mother have shared about the beautiful luminaria Christmas tradition in their cute little town of Manchester. “That’s a really great idea, mom!” I responded, even though I had no idea where to start with something like that; I knew we would figure it out.

But lets pause for a minute. What in the world is a luminaira? you may be asking, or maybe you’ve already googled it, but my job here is to make it so you don’t have to- sorry I wasn’t fast enough!

A “luminaria” for all intents and purposes, is a handful of sand and a votive candle in the bottom of a paper lunch sack, that you put out on your sidewalk or drive way on Christmas Eve. The story that my mom grew up hearing is that they’re put out to lead Mary and Joseph to the stable where the Christ child will be born.

With that, we had ourselves a fundraiser.

We we committed.

So the next day, we looked up bulk sales in white paper bags and votive candles, and I planned to talk to my boss at Mary Berry’s Gardening to see if she knew anyone who would be interested in donation 2 yards of sand to our cause. Everything looked promising. We did (a lot) of math and figured out that if we sold “kits” of 20 for $25 we would need 350 sales to reach a comfy total profit of about $7000 and with more than 1200 homes in the neighborhood we realized that this goal was not an impossible one! Plus, we would try to have everything up as soon as possible so people would have plenty of time to order, we figured it would only take a couple days! The date was November 29 and we thought we could get the site up by the 1st.

In theory, we could have. But in reality, there was absolutely no way. With Christmas parties, church activities and family being in town, it definitely did not happen. Which was disappointing, but we weren’t exactly surprised. What we were surprised to find is that it would take us far longer than just a couple work-hard days to get this project on it’s feet; more like an interesting two weeks, full of unforeseen problems, which involved but was not limited to:

~4-5 different attempts on different website providers to make a simple but aesthetic place to order.

~Unnumbered amount of film takes to get an informative header video we were satisfied with.

~Painful video editing through beginner instruction videos.

~Many encounters with unsaved and therefore lost-forever data.

~Stress and frustration I never want to go through for such an extended period of time again.

Plus, I was still working all the way up until a few days before Christmas so I wasn’t always around to help out or finish the things that I still had to do.

It felt like we were getting nowhere and that it just wasn’t going to be worth it, and quite frankly I almost gave up. But I knew that the intentions and the ideas were there, and we just had to get one thing right, which would lead to the next thing, we just had to keep working for it. I didn’t know if we would come out the other end with any profit at all, but I knew that it would be worth it if I saw even one set of luminarias out in somebody’s driveway.

So, after weeks of not stopping, my totally awesome and persistent dad got the site up and running, and we were in business!

The date was December 13th. Four days away from the ordering deadline we had already put onto 500 flyers.

However our hopes still higher than we knew how to handle, we got the 2 yards of sand from our lovely friend Mary Berry, and ordered half of the amount of votive candles than our goal called for and a very random number of paper bags because the site was having a sale. There was some stress over this delivery of candles and bags because the site was not very helpful by letting us know after we ordered that it was possible that nothing would arrive before Friday, December 21, with an open schedule for pick up on Monday…

But again we pushed through and from some miracle no one had signed up for Monday, so we took it off the list and all of our supplies were here on Tuesday! From there just about everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. We had people coming over to pick up pretty regularly, we put up signs for the sub, and a display in our front yard. We did have to change things along the way, like deadlines and payment methods but it worked, and on Christmas eve, while all our family was over for dinner, we had our last pick up.

Success and completion!!

It was a glorious moment.

But what was even more awesome and glorious was seeing my neighbors with their glowing sidewalks and knowing that we did that!

Not to mention how cool it was along the way to meet all of those cool neighbors and get to know our subdivision better!

Overall, the profit was enough to feel like it really was worth it, even though we were no where even half as close to our goal as we had hoped to be, the journey was worth it all, and we started a tradition in Sunflower Village that I plan on keeping up as long as I can!

 So thank you to all of you who might have helped out in anyway, whether you bought a kit or not, I really appreciate everyone who gave my family and I support to get it done.

Make sure you check out the fund tracker to see how we’re doing!

And don’t forget to tell your friends about this rad blog you read that may still need some donations to get where it’s going 😉

That’s all for now my friends. Thanks so much for reading!!

Best Wishes and Much Love,



Ps! Fun Fact for the day: Our halfway payment deadline is almost here!!

We need to put in half of our total cost by February 1st!!Which is less than a month away so we really need to get kicking again! Thanks to our awesome friends and family we’ve had some great donations coming in and from this luminaria fundraiser! But right now we’re not as close as we’d like to be for our end of the month goal! If anyone has any fundraising or advertising ideas or advise please let us know!! You can email me at aoife.hefy@gmail.com or you can give us a jump by donating at hefy.org/donate !!
Thank You!



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