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School Santa's Workshop Ideas Needed

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My school needed someone to coordinate the Santa's workshop and I volunteered. By this I mean where kids bring in money and do their own shopping at school for family. I have not done this before and wondered if any of you have and if you might have any advice to offer up to someone new at this. I have 3 weeks to pull this together.
post #2 of 9
Our PTO coordinates it here along with Breakfast With Santa....the kids eat breakfast while Santa walks around and visits, then they can have their picture made with him and then they can go into the gym and shop for their family while Santa's helpers help them out. When they do this for the kids at school here, they send home notes and ask for small donations from parents who'd like to donate and they also ask the local businesses to make donations as well. There are tons of things that work well...candles, candle holders, handkerchiefs, small flashlights, hand lotions, boxed candy, small gift baskets, etc. Good luck! Three weeks isn't alot of time, but if it makes you feel any better I always seem to work better under pressure and hopefully you will too!
post #3 of 9
I remember shopping at the Santa's Workshop when I was little! Wow, that's a deeply recessed memory.. Anyway, I'm not sure if the items are donated by businesses/parents or if they're purchased by the school.
Since I have never done anything like this, I googled it, and this is what I found. GIFTS GALORE STORE They do these kind of things. I couldn't get the brochure to come up on my screen, but from the small brochure picture, it looks like the type of things that I remember available to buy -- simple but all-around great gifts.
Also, you could use this as a great way to get some extra money for the school (PTA, etc). Write up a formal letter and send it to a bunch of businesses, privately and corporately owned, asking for donations for the program. Even getting donations from the Dollar Store would be good.
If I was in your shoes, this is what I would do:
- Buy (or have donated) wrapping paper & holiday tags too, so the kids can take the gifts home completely wrapped.
- Make up a really cute page of different holiday gift tags for the kids in coloring book style,
coordinating the tags so they're easy to tell adults from kids (square for adults, round for kids). Doing this will help the volunteers if they have a problem figuring out who's a child and who's an adult. Send the gift tags home with the kids to color; have the parents decide who they're buying gifts for and put their names on the coordinating tags (Dad, Mom, Papa Don, Susie, Jack, etc). The child can bring them back into school for the secret shop. Or, send a paper home for the parent/child to determine a list of gift recipients and have the child color/label the tags in class free time, and the teachers collect them for shopping later. (in case you're worried some kids will forget their pre-labeled tags and won't know who to shop for)
- Have some Wal-Mart shopping bags for the kids to take their gifts home in.

I remember now that I'm thinking about it.. The brochure that they sent home with us had one end of it folded up like an envelope. On the envelope, it had a bunch of lines for the parents to list the gift recipients and their age group. You could do it like "Under 5, 6-10, 11-15, Teen, Adult" etc, or you could do "Newborn, Toddler, Youngster, Child, Teen, Adult" or something like that.. And the parents had to put their child's money in the envelope, write the gift recipients on the outside, and seal up the envelope for their child to take into school. Any change from shopping was put back in the envelope and into the child's bag to return to their parent.

Good luck with this -- I remember how much fun it was! I'll never forget the year that my little brother bought everyone a different colored rabbits foot keychain because he thought they were COOL! I thought it looked like a dead mouse. LOL And actually I used it that year for April Fools' to trick my mom into thinking there was a dead mouse in the toe of her shoe. :D
post #4 of 9
Our school has a great Christmas Shop. Our school sends home an envelope with 3 columns on it to write who the gifts are for and how much is alotted, and any notes ( e.g hates gold) it might look like this after it's filled out:
Mom- $4.00 -likes silver
Dad- $4.00
Little sister-$2.00
Nana-$4.00-no scented items

That way the kids and helpers know how much they're allowed to spend per person. The parents bring the envelope along on the day of the sale with cash enclosed. The envelope returns with the child and gifts if there;'s any change left.
``At our school we set up table in another room seperate from the "shopping area" and the kids do a cheap but nice Oriental Trading craft or 2 while they wait there turn. ( they have some on clearance right now online!!) They also split the hours up alphabetically so only so many kids come at one time. 9:00-10:30-kids come with last names A-L 10:30-12:00, then last names M-Z. Kids sign in when they get there and get a #, then they wait for their # to be called. I think we usually have about 7 kids at a time in the shop and each one is paired with a helper. After shopping there are other helpers to help the kids put each gift into a bag, write the name of who it's for and staple it closed. There's usually a boom box with music playing too.
post #5 of 9
How are things going with your planning?
post #6 of 9
Our school does a santa shop. They have a deal with the local Dollar Tree. They go in when the store isn't open to the public, and get many, many things. They agreed to sell it to them for 75 cents, then the school sells it to the children for $1 or $1.25. they get locks of lotions, knick-knacks, flashlights, screwdrivers, and things like that. The children love to do it, it doesn't cost a whole lot, and is lots of fun. Maybe you can find a store that will give you a discount, since you're going to be buying alot.
post #7 of 9
Our school does a shop like that Gifs Galore. You don't have to pay for anything until you turn everything back in. They send home envelopes and kids do their shopping. The PTA volunteers help the kids, who come in 1 class at time, pick things out. We used a sheet and wrote down everything they got. Then the cashier rang them up. You'd be surprised by how many kids try to steal or have NO concept of money, so it's essential to go through all their bags before they leave and make sure they have what they pay for. We also gave small plastic gift bags. They could wrap it closed with a twist-tie (that we also provided) and just write a name on it.

Most of the stuff was cheap and a lot of it arrived broken, so we always had to open it and look at the stuff. I like the Dollar Tree idea a lot.

We had ropes keeping the kids corraled and lined all the tables up in a U shape to keep the line moving.

Hope that helps! Good luck!
post #8 of 9
If it helps, Target has great things for $1 at the front of the store. I have NEVER heard of this idea. How unique!
post #9 of 9
We had a Santa shop at our school the past two years. We ordered stuff from Oriental Trading and sold it back to the kids at a small profit.

I also made cocoa cones: cocoa mix, chocolate chips and marshmallows, put it in a decorating bag( like Wilton;s) and tied it shut with curling ribbon. These sold very quickly.

You can also ask the families in the school if they have anything to donate to the sale: maybe some jewelry that they didn't like, picture frames, lotions etc.

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