Grasshopper Gardens Employee Holiday Party Celebrates Its 20th Year in A Non-Traditional Way
Now in its 20th year, the Grasshopper Gardens Holiday Party is one of the highlights of the year for the company’s close-knit staff. “We come from a very large family, so it’s always been our family members – many of whom don’t even work here – pitching in to help with set up, entertainment, buying and wrapping gifts, food, party favors, just everything that goes into it.” says John Delisle, President and Founder of Grasshopper Gardens.
“The idea for the party originally came from my sister Jamie. She has been with us since we opened our doors and has worked hard to make our party what it is today.”
Each year, Grasshopper Gardens asks their employees to provide wish lists from their children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, and then they fulfill those wishes, buying what each child wants the most, about 3 gifts per child. Santa is always there to gather the children’s wish lists and for family pictures. “In the beginning, we started in our shop with just 15-20 kids. A few years ago, we started renting out a hall for about 100 children,” says John.
Jamie and the rest of the helpers start at 5am on the morning of the party, setting up games, decorations and organizing the gifts for the children. The elves, snowmen, and reindeer get to the party just before kickoff.
This year was different of course. COVID forced the Grasshopper Gardens crew to plan a socially distant Holiday Party. While the party was different, the goal remained the same: to bring smiles to the faces of the people who the mean most. The snowmen, Grinch, reindeer (all close family) practiced dance moves, routines and skits for weeks prior to the party, knowing they would have to entertain from a distance. Jamie started planning and buying gifts in August, despite it being the company’s busiest time of year.
“In past years, we have worked around major snowstorms, with our teams out plowing and clearing the sites. This year we worked around COVID”, says John. “Our family and our employee’s families have grown up with this party; It has become a tradition, and we are very proud that we all pulled together and found a way to keep the tradition alive this year.”