Eileen Weir is active in many Eastern Jackson County community organizations. Contact her at townandgown@sbcglobal.net or in care of The Examiner, P.O. Box 459, Independence, MO 64051.

Members and friends of the Junior Service League of Independence celebrated an honored tradition on Friday, Dec. 5, gathering at The Club House on Crysler Avenue for the annual Christmas Tea.

The long-established social event is a highlight of each league year, providing the ladies with an opportunity to exchange holiday well wishes, enjoy food and entertainment, and pay tribute to the graduating high school senior sons and daughters of JSL members. 

Whether a decades-long member or a newcomer to the women’s service organization, the convivial afternoon party is always highly anticipated as a welcomed reprieve from the demands of the hectic holiday season.

Planned and executed by Program Chairwoman Jaime Matthews and her able committee of Dr. Laura Amick, Angie Boles, Kathy Dowden, Jennifer Garrett, the Rev. Sarah Wimberley, Beth Hanson, Mary Hendricks and Lonna Smittle, the league headquarters was transformed with seasonal finery in tones of plum, burgundy, and red.  Fresh flowers were procured to enhance the foyer as guests were greeted warmly by the hostess committee.

Traditional and innovative holiday fare nourished guests who delighted in the hand-made mincemeat tartlets, tea sandwiches, stuffed cherry tomatoes, and cran-raspberry jalapeno chutney cream cheese and crackers. Sweetening the afternoon were miniature cupcakes in flavors of red velvet, lemon, and chocolate raspberry prepared by Baby Cakes bakery in Kansas City’s River Market district.

Inspired by the theme “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the membership paused in the festivities to acknowledge the significant accomplishments of graduating seniors.

Presented at the afternoon ceremony were Reese Borchers, presented by mother Cammie, Justin Grubb, son of Lori, Drew Hammer, son of Beth, Diane Hawkins’ daughter Erin, Dylan Legler, son of Beth, Kim Schultz’s son Spencer, Tony Sommer, son of Jackie, Abby Withers, daughter of Lori, and Melanie Woody’s daughter, Lauren. The students were introduced proudly by their mothers and spoke to the gathering of their individual post-graduate plans.

As a measure of congratulations, each young man and women was presented with a Barnes & Noble gift by the members of Junior Service League.

Members, guests, and students were entertained by the music of Greg Briggs and Dan Deluca as they enjoyed the afternoon of celebration and fellowship.