For members of the Junior League of Orange County, it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas.
About 30 league members met at the California Pizza Kitchen in Irvine on Monday to eat pasta and unveil plans for the Christmas Company, their 18th annual holiday boutique and fund-raiser. The league works yearlong to stage the boutique, to be held Oct. 19 through Oct. 22 at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. More than 20,000 people are expected to attend, raising $200,000 for league projects.
Christmas in October
“Visions of Sugar Plums” is the theme of this year’s four-day Christmas shopping extravaganza.
“It’s like walking into a Christmas fantasyland,” said Erin Nielsen, a member of the steering committee. “All of the booths are decorated. There’s music, lights and trees.”
More than 50 exhibitors from across the country will show up to peddle their one-of-a-kind wares, which include crafts, ornaments, jewelry and clothes.
“You can’t get these items anywhere but here,” said Michelle Miller, committee member.
A full schedule of special events is also planned, starting with an opening-night gala in honor of patrons on Monday, Oct. 18. Other activities include an evening with John Loring, design director of Tiffany & Co., who will speak on “Entertaining: Four to Four Hundred” at 7 p.m. Oct 19; a live radio broadcast of the KNX Food News program with Melinda Lee and Chris Lane from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 19 and a fashion seminar with Vicki Barnes at 9 a.m. Oct. 22.
“It’s a unique shopping experience,” said Leonie Lumpkin, chairwoman of the Christmas boutique. “It’s a time to meet up with a lot of your friends.”
For Children’s Sake
Past Christmas Company fund-raisers have realized more than $2 million for various community projects. This year’s proceeds will go to projects that help prevent child abuse and adolescent pregnancy.
“In the past we’ve been involved in so many different areas. We decided we wanted to narrow it down, to set our goals,” Miller said.
After polling its 1,200 local members and conducting research into what needs were going unmet in the community, the league decided to focus on the two areas involving children. Programs such as Adolescent Pregnancy Child Watch, a league project that brings together 90 community groups to address adolescent pregnancy, will be the beneficiary of future league activities.
“We wanted to use our resources as effectively as possible. One thing we do well is put together volunteers and funding,” said Jean Ashby, league president.
Admission to the boutique is $5. For information or to purchase tickets to special events call (714) 261-0823.
Others who took part in the kickoff luncheon were: Mary Buckingham, Scot Cunningham, Mary Fallon, Terry Hutchinson, Susan Maples, Debbie Miller, Susan Tebo and Madeline Zuckerman.