Archive for Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Holiday Shop teaches children the art of gift giving

December 6, 2006


Most everyone could use a little financial advice.

This week, as children step through a castle gate into the Children's Holiday Shop, an elf will greet them - and serve as their financial adviser of sorts.

The 120 elves - student volunteers dressed in green and red aprons - on hand will guide about 700 children, ages 3 to 12, through the Lawrence Arts Center's 13th annual Children's Holiday Shop to pick out gifts to surprise family and friends.

"My favorite part is watching the kids pick out the gifts for their relatives," said former shopper and now elf Reese Randall, 11, a fifth-grader at Wakarusa Valley School. "It's fun because they don't always get the kind of thing (the parents) would probably want."

But it's the experience of deciding what to get that drives the Holiday Shop.

"It's a positive, empowering experience that builds self-esteem," said Noelle Uhler, director of development for the Lawrence Arts Center. "They think, 'Gosh, what should I pick because I get to pick all by myself.' That's the beauty of it."

About 7,000 items ranging from $1 crayon kits to $5 socket sets, mostly pre-wrapped, will be set out on tables for the children with elves in tow to budget and buy.

Between one-third and one-half of the children will purchase gifts using cash. The rest will use $1 Holiday Dollars - special red Christmas tender that has as much buying power at the shop as Uncle Sam's version.

Past Event
Children's Holiday Shop

  • When: Saturday, December 9, 2006, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence
  • More on this event....

About 1,000 packets containing $10 worth of Holiday Dollars have been distributed this year to children through the Lawrence school district and social service agencies such as the Ballard Center and the Boys and Girls Club.

One goal is to make sure the children feel like they're shopping and purchasing while being able to give.

"It's kind of a learning process in one sense of the word," said Jack Hamilton, president of Topeka-based Capitol Federal Foundation, the charitable arm of Capitol Federal Savings and the corporate sponsor of the Holiday Dollars. "In practice, through this holiday fair, children who are coming in are buying for other people in their family. So they get a sense of what giving means to them even though the dollars are provided for them."

Friday's Children's Holiday Shop will be from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is reserved for children of members of the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

Saturday's shop, which is open to the public, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Sigmund 11 years, 6 months ago

Training yet another generation to be good little consumers. Next year they will teach the little tykes to go into debt to buy stuff they can't afford. And so begins the spiral of buying stuff for other people that they don't want so they won't feel guilty when they receive stuff they don't want and neither can afford.

Gross National Product, its the reason for the season!

prioress 11 years, 6 months ago

If Christmas meant what it was supposed to, the only "giving" would be to the poor, the downtrodden and the dispossessed.

Sigmund 11 years, 6 months ago

Well prioress, since Christ has been systematically removed from Christmas by those on the left and the right Xmas is little more than a consumer oriented celebration of fat people and elves who give us stuff, for free! Kind of like Robin Hood, but dressed for Winter.

Or did you want to allow a crack in the "wall between church and state" and put Jesus at the center of our holidays? I find it hysterical when the secular non-religious start talking about the "real meaning of Christmas." These are generally the same people who are all upset about "In God We Trust" on our currency.

Kathy Gates 11 years, 6 months ago

Have any of you actually taken your kids to the Arts Center Holiday shop? Both of my children went to this event for the first time last year. Let me tell you about my oldest son, who remembered that his little brother loves Batman and bought him a Batman water bottle. Or my younger son, who remembered his dad's frustration in not being able to find a measuring tape to complete a home improvement project, so he bought his Dad a new one for Christmas. I use the necklace holder they bought me almost every day. Gift giving isn't just about getting stuff--it's about making a connection with the people you love.

galfromku 11 years, 6 months ago

My son is 22 now, but when he was a tiny guy and I was a single mom he wanted to be able to shop without me there and I wanted to know he was safe and he could feel good being able to get some things with just a few bucks! It was great!

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