Thinking about hosting a holiday party at the barn? Deck The Stalls is something we've done almost every year since we first started our lesson program. It's a celebration of the holidays with our customers and a fun way to get the barn decorated for the holiday season.
We buy most of our decorations for decking the stalls from the dollar store. Each horse gets a stocking for its stall door. We also buy a variety of other holiday decorations—things that can be easily attached with a staple gun or some duct tape (every barn has duct tape right?).
Make sure if you are hanging any lights that you dust off the area you are hanging them as much as possible and secure them so that the horses can't reach them to chew on them.
That being said, all the decorations should be attached in such a way that the horses can't reach them to chew them or pull them down.
We have all the decor out on a table and allow our guests to work together to "deck the stalls". It's fun for the whole family!
We usually have some arts and crafts projects for the kids to do at our Deck the Stalls party. We usually do ornament-making crafts or something simple like that. We almost always buy the kid's ornament kits at Michaels or A.C Moore. They're fairly inexpensive there and actually turn out pretty cute.
They normally have a variety of them, so you can choose depending on what age you think most of your attendees will be.
Since my barn is a lesson barn and we specialize in beginners and families, crafts are fun for the whole family.
If you are a mostly adult barn, I'm sure you would plan a totally different party.
Food and Drink
As far as food and drinks go, we just offer hot chocolate and lemonade usually. We normally provide some cookies and cupcakes but ask that our guests bring some kind of food contribution to share. Anything from pretzels to candy canes, or whatever they would like to, and can afford to, contribute.
Normally, we have our party in the evening on a Friday. It is pretty cold out, so we have a little bonfire going out in the middle of our riding ring. We also have the makings of smores. The fire and smores are always a big hit at our party.
Each person that comes to our party is given a ticket, and sometime during the middle of the party, we give out door prizes. Normally, we give away festive things, like a gingerbread house kit for example.
In the Spirit of the Holidays
In the spirit of the holidays, we ask that our students bring a donation to give to a local animal shelter. You could choose any cause that you wanted to ask for donations for! Anything from animal shelter supplies to care packages for soldiers overseas. Whatever cause is important to you, the spirit of giving during the holidays is a great time to help collect things.
When you are throwing a family-friendly party at the farm, I think you will find that most families are more than happy to bring a donation to whatever cause you might decide to support that year.
Reindeer Antlers on the Horses
You can put reindeer antlers on the horses and families can get some really cute photographs!
Share the Love With the Horses
Once you have decked the stalls, warmed up by the bonfire, enjoyed a craft project, and spent time with friends and family at the barn, share the love with your horses and give them some tasty treats. Maybe a candy cane or a carrot or two!
Just make sure to share the wealth throughout the barn, so none of the horses get a bellyache. If you have boarded horses, check with their owners if it will be okay for them to eat treats at the party.
Bring Together Your Barn Family
Decking the stalls, or having some other sort of holiday party, is a great way to build camaraderie at the barn. Gives the kids and families some extra time to mingle will help them make memories to last through the cold winter months and hold them over until springtime when everyone is (hopefully) able to get back into the routine of riding again.
Since the weather often keeps families away from the barn over the winter, this is a way to keep them involved and thinking about the barn.
It is always fun to plan a barn party, so give "deck the stalls" a try at your barn. You won't be disappointed!