As part of our Antarctic Explorers study we threw an Antarctic midwinter party for all eight of us. Robert Scott, the second explorer to reach the South Pole, held the very first Antarctic Midwinter party whilst on his Terra Nova expedition. Every year in June, the scientists in the Antarctic take part in their own midwinter celebrations. The 21st June marks the turning point of the Antarctic winter. The girls and I researched it, looked at the photos of the first party hosted by Robert Scott and read diary entries made by the original explorers back in 1911.
Next, we made notes of things we wanted to include in our party.
Antarctic Midwinter Party: Preparations
I didn’t want this to be a huge deal, so I went very simple. I put aside three hours for a family night midwinter party. Within those three hours, we would need to cook the food, make the decorations, home make a present for someone and plan to entertain the rest in a simple ten minute activity each. Back in 1911, the supplies the men would have had in their makeshift residence were very basic. So, I gave everyone some plain newspaper, string, tape and colouring pens.
Antarctic Midwinter Party: Decorations
There was a long list of things we needed to make. We met at five to begin. I had bought ‘Scott’s Music Box’ (a CD of all the records the explorers listened to on Scott’s gramophone) and we had it playing in the background. I divvied out the jobs:
You can see from the first photo above that Scott’s original party had many, many flags. Ads lent us his two flags which we hung up at the windows. The boys were tasked with making and hanging the rest of the flags:
Lillie made and decorated party hats:
Charlotte made the place cards:
Abigail made the bunting, whilst Becca and I made the crackers:
And we each picked a name out of a hat and made a present for one other person at the table. Much fun was had, as Ads built a model out of loo role, I made some vouchers, Charlotte made some great paper gloves and snow goggles, Lillie drew a picture, Becca created me a lovely heart with a Roses are red poem inside and a book mark and Thomas wrapped the sellotape (apparently, I said that they could use anything at the table. So he did). Oh, and Gary made a one day’s supply of loo roll for Lillie 🤣
Antarctic Midwinter Party: Food
I laid the table using all the decorations we’d made, the presents and the menu. I chose to photocopy the original 1911 menu, and using the toasts the explorers raised, I created a list of toasts which everyone had a copy of:
An Individual Place Setting
I tried to keep as much to the original menu, although penguin consommé was not widely available 🤔. We had the roast beef, horse radish sauce, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes of the day and sprouts (I added carrots and peas as I hate sprouts). We bought non alcoholic sparkling wine and some Peach Buck’s Fizz:
I bought some fudge (instead of butter bonbons), chocolates and jelly fruit sweets (instead of jellied fruit). Here’s dinner and the sweets:
Abigail also made us an upside down pineapple cake and custard (but I didn’t get a photo of them).
Antarctic Midwinter Party: Toasts
Who knew toasts could be so much fun? I’m not entirely sure why, but this was the funnest part of the night! We toasted to king and country, to the ship (!), to the other explorers (which were booed not cheered), the commonwealth…
Antarctic Midwinter Party: Entertainment
Each of us completed different. I did some Antarctic related riddles, Thomas sang some songs, Lillie and Becca taught us a dance, Abigail designed a family friendly spin the bottle, Ads and Charlotte made a really hard quiz (the winning score was ten – I got nine – out of twenty!) and Gary did some stand up comedy:
A really lovely family night!