Dey Elementary School students are getting a chance to do some holiday shopping on their own.
The school’s annual Gull Gift Shop, sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), is an event the community looks forward to each year.
“Getting out to go shopping can be difficult when you are an elementary school student,” said Missy Harwood, PTA coordinator of the Gull Gift Shop. “This shop is an opportunity for them to independently do some shopping for the members of their family.”
According to Harwood, the Gull Gift Shop has been a long-standing tradition at Dey Elementary for more than a decade.
“Each grade gets to shop and you see kids come in carrying lists of people they want to choose gifts for and ideas of what each person may like,” she explained.
In advance of the shop opening, PTA volunteers purchased a variety of items and displayed them on tables on the school’s stage. Options included items for everyone, from mom to the family pet.
PTA volunteer Sarah Winstead accompanied her daughter Jane and other kindergarteners through the shop, helping them choose items for those on their shopping list. “The kids love it,” she said. “It gives them a chance to shop for mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and their siblings. Christmas morning they are extra excited to see how everyone likes their gifts.”
Kindergartener Austin Abulencia was enthusiastic while shopping for the 15 people he had on his list.
“I have to get something for everyone in my family, because all of them are important,” he said. “Especially my mom and my brothers.”
Harwood said the Gull Gift Shop makes students more invested in their purchases.
“The kids want to pick out the perfect gift for their family members, so our parent volunteers are really great about pairing with a student and taking them around to help them choose items so each person on their list receives something.”
For Winstead, the students’ excitement is the best part of volunteering in the shop. “I’ll see them after they’re done shopping and they’ll be like, ‘I got my mom this!’ or, ‘I got my dad this!’”
“Plus,” she adds. “It’s just fun to be an elf for the day!”