It’s tea, for you. At least that’s what Nicole Elliott, Sarah Helfrich, and Leslie Schreiber have planned as co-chairs for the Guild of St. Mary’s third annual Christmas Tea taking place on Friday, November 30.
“Women have really embraced this new event as a holiday tradition,” says Schreiber. “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 more than 80 years—from the Christmas Sharing Tree program for Most Blessed Trinity Parish, to the Guild’s involvement in the monthly food drives benefitting 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. “There are two service aspects involved within each Circle—service to the church and service to the broader community,” says Christine Farrell, president of the Guild.
Three 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 St. Mary’s School gym.
At one point, the Guild of St. Mary’s boasted 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, Whitehead Studios, and Kenzy Gifts & Decor, while strolling models will showcase holiday outfits from local fashion favorites—the Lake Forest Shop, Sara Campbell, Lillie Alexander, and McElroy Furs. Attendees will be entertained with holiday music provided by a local school choir. Invitations will be mailed and paper responses will be required.
Yet one question does lurk in the minds of past attendees: What size will the takeaway cookie boxes be? All Schreiber—who has co-chaired the Christmas Tea since its inception—can do is laugh.
“The first year our boxes were too big and we ran out of cookies,” she explains. “Last year, our boxes were smaller and we had a lot of leftovers. This year we promise that we’ll get the box to cookie ratio just right.”
The Guild of St. Mary Christmas Tea will take place at 300 N. Green Bay Road in Lake Forest on Friday, November 30 at 10 a.m. For more information, call Leslie Schreiber at 708-602-6080.