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01/17/2011 - Welcome to the home of Social Lights. Read new online reports with photos each week and their reprisals in the monthly print edition mailed to over 26,000 homes in Birmingham-Bloomfield at the start of each month. If you are not receiving the print edition by mail, you can order a subscription in the upper right index at the top of this page (subscriptions). If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

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Junior League of Birmingham's Mistletoe Madness

The first Junior League of Birmingham holiday fundraising party - Holiday Preview Benefit - was staged in 1986 at the two Jacobson stores in Birmingham. When the chair Paula Tennyson first told me about it I can remember asking "Who's going to pay ($15, $25-benefactor) to go shopping at Jacobson's?" Well, I was totally wrong to question the plans. That party attracted 700 partygoers to the two Jacobson downtown Birmingham stores for sipping, supping, shopping, socializing, fashion modeling, demonstrations and entertainment. We dug out our report of that event (Nov.17, 1986 Eccentric) and have concluded that at least one person – Kathy Walgren - who was at that inaugural party was also at last month's successor event, the 2010 Mistletoe Madness.

What a difference 24 years make. The Jacobson stores are long gone from the scene and the event name was changed to Mistletoe Madness when it moved to Saks Fifth Avenue some years ago. The recent soiree attracted 178 to the Royal Oak Farmers Market. I'm not sure why the committee thought it was the 25th event anniversary, but who cares? It gave them an excuse to have a Best Dressed in Silver contest, won by JLB member Amy Stea. There was also lots of dancing and an auction in which Haley Vandemark's donation of a week at a very luxurious villa in Mansanilla, Mexico, garnered a winning bid of $6,500. This brought the total proceeds to some $18,000 for the JLB's outreach to local charities, including Gleaners Food Bank and Common Ground Sanctuary.

Volunteers of America's Annual Athletes Adopting Families

The second annual benefit for the Volunteers of America's Adopt A Family program attracted 300, including 100 VIP ticket holders, to the Reserve early last month to sip, sup, dance and chat with sportscaster Terry Foster. The VIPs paid $150 (twice the price of the general ticket) to get in a private autograph and photo session with some good guy jocks. These included Red Wing Justin Abdelkader, Pistons Bad Boy Rick Mahorn, former Detroit Lion Herman Moore and current Lions Derrick Williams, Cliff Avril and Louis Delman. (Charlie Villanueva, Lomas Brown and Kevin Smith had to be elsewhere, but had also signed autographs for donors.) People who donated another $99 received a bottle of 99 Wine donated by Wayne Gretzky. A silent and live auction raised another $10,000. In total the spirited evening enabled the Volunteers of America to provide food, clothing and toys for 25,000 needy children. Go to for more information about the 115-year old faith-based organization.

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