For the Guild of St. Mary, it’s all about tradition when it comes to the holidays and its annual Christmas Tea is one of its most special. Co-chairs Nicole Elliott and Rebecca Foster-Good- man will ensure that this year’s celebration on Friday, December 6 lives up to what past attendees have come to love.
“Women have really embraced this new event as a holiday must,” says Elliott. “It’s something we look forward to now to celebrate Christmas— it’s truly a community-building event.”
Lake Forest’s Guild of St. Mary is made up of more than 500 women and has been serving the church and community for 85 years—from the Christmas Sharing Tree program for Most Blessed Trinity Parish, to the Guild’s involvement in the monthly food drives benefiting the Holy Family Food Pantry. Proceeds from the Christmas Tea will benefit the Church of St. Mary and its philanthropic initiatives, which the Guild carries out most prominently through its Circles—smaller groups of women within the Guild who meet once a month to connect and discuss service opportunities.
Four years ago, the Christmas Tea was introduced to replace the St. Mary’s Prelude, a long-standing luncheon, fashion show, and shopping extravaganza. And some St. Mary’s Guild members may even remember when the annual holiday event was filled with homemade goodies sold in the School of St. Mary’s gym.
At one point, the Guild of St. Mary’s boasted of more than 1,100 women. In those days, each circle of women was organized geographically. But as time has passed, Circles have tended to come together organically based on the common phase of life the women are in—whether they have young children, older ones, or are empty-nesters.
As in the past, this year’s Christmas Tea will feature an array of holiday-centric hallmarks— from a cookie walk to a 50/50 raffle—in an iconic venue located at 300 N. Green Bay Road in Lake Forest. Guests can also shop for those on their holiday gift lists from onsite vendors like Mark David Designs, Kudos Collections, Kiddles Sports, How Impressive!, Country Classics, Winona Street Design, and Flowers by Katie Ford. Young models will be strolling through the venue wearing the best in First Communion and eighth grade graduation attire. At- tendees will be entertained with holiday music provided by a local school choir. Invitations will be mailed but Elliott and Foster-Goodman hope that most guests RSVP online.
“This is a wonderful occasion for women to get together before the holiday chaos begins,” adds Foster-Goodman. “We hope the community will join us for a little holiday spirit.”
The Guild of St. Mary Christmas Tea will take place at 300 N. Green Bay Road in Lake Forest at 10 a.m. on Friday, December 6. For more information, visit guildofstmary.wildapricot.org.