School Santa Shop

My last post about the elementary school secret Santa stirred up another Christmas memory – Santa Shops! Do you remember them?

The Santa Shop was basically a bunch of cheap stuff that kids could buy for family for Christmas. Oh, the things I would buy for my folks! Urgh!

Basically, they would bring each classroom down to wherever the shop was set up (the gym, the library, or lunchroom) and they got 15-20 minutes to look at the stuff for sale. Each kid was given a piece of paper to write down numbers and descriptions of things along with who they were for and how much they cost. Then you would take the list home and your folks would give you money to spend. Yes, the parents were buying their own stuff.

I almost never got the amount of money I wanted to spend. If my list was $25, I’d get $10. I doubt I ever got more than that. I usually just bought for my parents and my brother. There was always a bunch of stuff to pick from, but it was never really anything good. Sure, there were a few nice items, but most were plastic junk.

My brother always seemed to get toys that we could both play with. Usually slime or something like that.

Many times I tried to buy cheap for him so that there was extra left to buy myself something!

There was always stuff for mom. I remember one year buying her a “mom’ necklace. It was so cheap and it made her neck turn green. Another year, I bought a ring with a fake jewel in it. I think it bent or broke.

My dad always got a key ring or something like that. I don’t think I ever saw him use it. One year, I found it in the top drawer of the desk at home. I may have bought him a wallet once, too.

I remember thinking that I was buying high class stuff, after all some of the items cost a whole $5!!

When it was my turn to be dad, I remember my kids buying their mom candles or stuff that was much better than they stuff I got. I was ok with that. I had a keychain once that had a tape measure on it. The first time I used it, it broke. My oldest was so sad about that. The following year, he got me a coffee much that said “Super Dad” on it!

It didn’t look like this – it actually had the “S” like Superman on it. I actually still have it and use it. My middle son also bought me a coffee mug with Mr. Incredible on it. I doubt he got it at the Secret Santa shop, but it says “Incredible Dad” on it. They both know how much coffee I drink, so these were smart gifts!

The best gifts they ever got me were not even Christmas presents. They both went to the same elementary school and in Kindergarten, every June their classes made coasters out of tiles. They glued cork on the bottom and painted the tops. I still have both of them. I don’t use them for coffee, but I won’t part with them.

I know that it is not about the gift or the money spent on them. They could wrap up a box of moth balls and I would be happy about it! The fact that they get to go and “shop” for family is the cool thing. It also is just great for them to see your reaction to it when you open it. That puffy sticker that said “#1 Dad” meant more to me than anything of value under the tree.

I don’t know if they are still doing those Santa Shops. I really hope they do. It will be interesting to see what Ella and Andrew will bring home for Sam and I when they are in school. I may have to drop a few hints …

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