For the majority of our membership, summer consists of catching up with book club, marching in the Fourth of July parade, and easing into the duties and responsibilities of newly assigned volunteer placements. For a certain few, summer can only mean one thing: Christmas!
Around 60 Junior League of Collin County (JLCC) women spend summer fully immersed in holiday spirit as they plan for our annual holiday market, ‘Neath the Wreath (NTW). This magical four-day event transforms the Plano Event Center into a winter wonderland, bringing in over 125 merchants and 13,000 shoppers each year. It is a can’t miss holiday tradition, a perfect one-stop-shop to find unique gifts for everyone on your list. Something this spectacular requires an incredible amount of advance preparation! I caught up with a few of our ‘Neath the Wreath committee members to see just how they are working on Christmas in July.
From this year’s NTW chair, Katie Harris, “The steering committee gets placed in February and starts planning immediately. Our full committee comes in June 1st and gets thrown into the deep end of planning. They kind of have to skip the ‘get to know you’ phase of getting acclimated to the placement.” Between negotiating sponsorships, screening merchant applications, preparing for ticket sales, planning event logistics, and creating the decoration scheme (among so much more), an early start and eager volunteers are imperative to the success of the event.
The committee’s first opportunity to spread holiday spirit is at JLCC’s general membership meeting in August when this year’s market theme will be announced. Expect to see news of the announcement on the NTW social media accounts in late August through September, leading to the opening of ticket sales in October. As in previous years, the chosen theme sets the tone for the market. According to Katie, shoppers can always “expect a variety of merchants and a great time. For any other details, shoppers will just have to wait to experience the market.” The theme, decorations, and atmosphere truly create a unique market experience each year.
Committee member Jacqueline Davis says, “My favorite part of NTW is seeing everything come together. Seeing people walking around with family and friends, shopping their favorite merchants, and enjoying their time makes all the hard work and time the committee puts in worth it.” JLCC is proud of the women who make up the ‘Neath the Wreath committee and selflessly give a portion of their summers to plan this wonderful market. NTW is not only a shopping experience but also raises funds for JLCC to continue in our mission of promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
For up-to-date information, ticket launch date reminders, behind the scenes fun, and maybe even a giveaway or two, follow along with everything ‘Neath the Wreath on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the NTW email list. And be sure to mark your calendars for November 7-10th, 2019 to see the results of this committee’s hard work!