Annual Crafts and Carols fun for all ages


A variety of crafting options, including wool-felted Christmas trees, will be available at the annual Crafts and Carols at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church on Sunday, Dec. 3.

In November the Messy Church group gathered and wrapped presents for three newly-settled refugee families. Photo/LBUMC

In addition to making fresh pine door wreaths there will be an opportunity to create upcycled art with a holiday theme, which is perfect for home décor or gifts. 

In November the Messy Church group gathered and wrapped presents for three newly-settled refugee families. 

People looking for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of holiday demands are invited to join an old-fashioned Laguna Beach Crafts and Carols event on Dec. 3 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Attendees can make fresh, fully-decorated pine wreaths, numerous heirloom-quality ornaments and other holiday décor items that can be used for decorations or for gifts. Glitter and smiles will abound if this year’s event is like past years. 

“This is an opportunity for people of all ages to experience an afternoon of simple holiday joy,” said Barbara Crowley, the event organizer. “It’s really great to see people from age three to 93 just taking time to make some crafts, sing some favorite holiday tunes and just enjoy the beauty of the season.”

This annual tradition of Laguna Beach United Methodist Church will be held at Healton Hall, the church’s community room, and on the outdoor patio. The casual drop-in atmosphere, where multiple crafts are offered simultaneously, makes it a great outing for families dealing with nap times and other demands.

 “I don’t know if it’s the expansive ocean view from Healton Hall or the joy of creating one-of-a-kind items, but people just really relax and get in the Christmas spirit,” said Crowley. “The whole idea is to celebrate the season without the commercialism. Angels, stars, trees and even snow-themed decorations will all be part of the celebration, but the real focus is on us making and creating gifts to enjoy within our families or to give to others.”

Helpers, whom Crowley refers to as “elves,” will be on hand to guide people through the crafts, but as with all successful art projects, participants are encouraged to add their own personalized flair to whatever they make. 

This year, the church is expanding the Crafts and Carols offerings. There will be photo ops, including decorated Christmas trees, angel wings and stars. There will also be a short telling of the Christmas story at 4:30 p.m. for anyone who wants to listen in, and an optional soup and chili buffet will be offered at 5 p.m. 

“People can come for as long or as short a time as they’d like,” said Crowley. “We just want people to enjoy the season.”

There is a suggested donation of $5 per family to offset the cost of supplies, but no one will ever be turned away.  The church prides itself on its welcoming ways for all people with the motto “Open minds, open hearts and open doors.” 

The Crafts and Carols event is part of the church’s Messy Church program, a group that meets monthly for people of all ages to have fun, create, and experience some simple faith-forming messaging that includes the importance of sharing, kindness and that God loves us always. With its action-packed activities Messy Church is a vibrant alternative from traditional Sunday morning services and while it’s an inter-generational experience, many families with young children become regular attendees. 

In November, the group sorted and wrapped items donated by church members for three different refugee families, one in Laguna Niguel and two that are being assisted with a refugee resettlement program in San Diego. The families came from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and El Salvador. There were donations of household goods, warm blankets, clothing, toys and books, which the Messy Church participants lovingly wrapped, knowing they’d be going to these newly resettled families in need. 

“Giving is such an important part of the Christmas season,” said Crowley. “And with Crafts and Carols we’re thrilled to offer everyone the chance to come, create and celebrate this season in a fun, meaningful way.” 

Laguna Beach United Methodist Church is located at 21632 Wesley Drive, Laguna Beach. For more information visit For questions or to register for Crafts and Carols email [email protected]. Registration is helpful for organizers but never required. 

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