Every year we run a “Santa Store” at my school. We are between 80% and 90% free lunch so we are a very “at risk” school. We ask around for donations from local business and several of our more affluent schools (my wife’s for one) have families clean out their garages … we get a ton of stuff. Then we close our library for a week ( yeah, I know we close the library, Ugg!), because its the only room we have large enough. We also “volunteer” most of our support staff to work there for the week.
Teacher conversations just before and during that week often question using these resources in this way. Then your class gets to go … and then you remember why we use these resources this way.
The idea of the Santa Store is to offer the chance for students to shop for Christmas gifts for their families at “fire sale” prices. All they buy is also gift wrapped and tagged on the spot so students can take them home and they are ready. Students go to the Santa Store during their usual library time that week. Friday was my classes’ turn.
When I announce we are about to go quarters, dimes and nickels appear from pockets and back packs as well as balled up dollar bills and even a few fives and tens. When we enter students are given a “tour” of the store. Prices are explained and then the shopping starts. For some students their favorite part is watching their gifts get wrapped. Others walk around and around the tables overflowing with candles, kitchenware, alarm clocks, ornaments, and every knick-knack you can imagine.
Some fumble money in their hands while juggling their purchases doing the math in their heads to be sure they have enough. Some approach classmates that are done purchasing to see if they have the dime or whatever they are short to complete their purchase … most share gladly. Students that are finished gather by the door and feel the bows and shiny paper their gifts are wrapped in. I feel the warm glow of Christmas and remember why we do Santa Store every year and give up our library … and know it is worth it.
Learning is messy! Merry Christmas! and Happy Holidays!
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