Kids turn to ‘Elf Shop’

At this time of year, many children are making lists and visiting Santa to share what they want for Christmas. While getting gifts is something many enjoy, it also feels good to give a loved one something special.

Students at Fairmont Elementary School will soon have the opportunity to pick out gifts to give their family members.

The Elf Shop has been going for a number of years. A past social worker at the school, Carol Cress, organized it by herself and, after she retired, volunteers stepped up to continue the tradition. The Elf Shop is open to all students in kindergarten through second grade. Families self-determine whether they want their child to participate.

Through the Elf Shop, students pick out a gift for family members. They choose from a variety of new or gently used items that community members have donated.

“Kids really do want a chance to pick out something just right for mom and dad or grandma and grandpa, and this gives them that chance to think through what those special people like and make those careful choices,” said Liz Wheeler, who has been volunteering at the Elf Shop for several years.

On Monday, students participating in the Elf Shop will look around for appropriate gifts for the people on their list with the help of volunteer “shopping assistants.” Other volunteers will then help the students wrap and label the gifts.

“The volunteers enjoy it because we enjoy the season of giving, and it’s fun to give kids this opportunity to participate in the giving side of things, not just the receiving,” Wheeler said.

Items can still be donated for the Elf Shop. Things most needed are gift bags and tissue, as well as gifts for boys and men.

“People can donate by either bringing in their new or gently used items or cash donations to the main office at Fairmont Elementary and just let the staff know it’s for the Elf Shop,” Wheeler explained.

Though the number of students who participate varies each year, it’s expected that anywhere from 200 to 250 students will participate this year.