New Berlin Cultural Center Transformed Into Christmas Village
Published: December 27th, 2022
By: Sarah Genter

New Berlin Cultural Center transformed into Christmas Village The New Berlin Cultural Center spent the holiday season transformed into a magical Christmas Village, complete with 17 Christmas trees, one of which was made out of 1,142 origami cranes. Throughout the season, area residents were able to attend a total of 12 movie nights, a Christmas concert, and pancakes with Santa. (Photo from the Cultural Center at St. Andrew's Facebook page)

NEW BERLIN — The New Berlin Cultural Center, located in St. Andrew's Parish Hall in New Berlin, spent the winter season transformed into a Christmas Village to provide the magic of Christmas to area children.

The space was decked out with enchanting yuletide decor, including a total of 17 Christmas trees, one of which was made out of over 1,000 paper cranes.

"We actually have 1,142 cranes. There is a beautiful symbolic story about them: they bring peace, prosperity, health. And the community helped to do all of these 1,000 cranes, and it was something very beautiful that we involved in the symbolism," said Cultural Center Director Andreia Keller.

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Throughout the Christmas season, the Cultural Center provided several activities for local children to attend. In total, they hosted 12 movie nights, complete with popcorn and hot chocolate, a Christmas concert, and pancakes with Santa.

Local children also had the opportunity to stop by and tell Santa all their Christmas wishes. Keller said they aimed to make the experience as magical as possible.

"All the kids of the village have this paper from Santa, their names are all on that list," she explained. "When the kids see their names on that list, ‘you are the real one! You are the real one!’"

"He was so great. So great. Because he wasn’t just like next, next, next. You know, like in a mall?" she said of Santa. "They sit and he actually asks them questions and they talk, and then they go and have a hot cocoa, and they come back and they're like, ‘my house doesn't have a fireplace, and then how are you going to get into my house?’ And then he takes this big golden key from his pocket. The kids were sparkling."

But the Christmas Village wasn't just an effort of the Cultural Center staff, Keller said. It was a true collaborative endeavor with the New Berlin community.

"Each one bringing in, from an old Christmas tree, to actually getting like broken things and restoring them to not spend money, but creating the most that we could. That is one of the things that I’m like wow, that is good. The involvement of the community created that space," said Keller. "We had hanging this big star, and it was this 13-year-old young boy that made it ... It’s so great to see a teenager not like, okay I need to do my video game. No! I got to work over here and do all these beautiful things. It was a beautiful two-month involvement with the community."

Plus, while the Cultural Center was being transformed into the Christmas Village, they were able to hold their regularly scheduled classes at the Chobani Community Center.

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Although the Christmas festivities are now coming to a close, Keller said the Christmas Village will return next year with a new theme and even more activities and surprises in store.

"One of the plans for next year is the big tree, the one that is actually in Santa’s area, is that would be for next year decorated with each family bringing one ornament that symbolizes their family, and then that will be the village tree. Every family has an ornament," she said.

The New Berlin Cultural Center is still a new addition to the area. The center opened its doors in late August of this year, but already provides a litany of activities to residents, with more on the way in 2023.

Classes available at the center throughout the year range from cooking, quilting, dancing, yoga, art, musical theater, and more. In 2023, Keller said they also plan to do a Valentine's Day celebration, a fancy tea party for Mother's Day, and a princess party for young girls in conjunction with Earth Day.

"It can happen if we’re all together, if we’re all here with the same force to do the best for our community. That is one very important thing," said Keller. "It’s us together that’s doing this."

More information on the New Berlin Cultural Center can be found on The Cultural Center at St. Andrew's Facebook page.