Spirit of giving: Kids Christmas shop for their loved ones

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Meadow View Elementary School third-grader Colby Ewart already had a plan in place to stealthily wrap the presents he had just purchased for his loved ones at the school’s Santa shop on Dec. 2.

“I’m going to get some help,” Ewart said when asked if he planned to wrap the gifts himself. “I’m going to get my mom to help me with most of them, but I’m going to get Dad to help me with Mom’s so she doesn’t know what I got her.”

In the span of just a few minutes, Ewart found the perfect gifts for his mother, father, sister and brother and proudly showed off his haul after paying for the items.

Ewart’s classmate, Noah Hicks, also checked several people off his Christmas list at the Santa shop, including the family pet.

“I got a lot!” Hicks said excitedly as he opened his shopping bag. “I shopped for my mom, my dad, my cousin, my dog and my brother. I think they will be surprised.”

Third-grader Edwin Alcantara shopped for several members of his family, and said he planned to keep the gifts a secret to everyone until Christmas day.

“I’m going to wrap everything in my room so they won’t know what I got them,” he said.

Throughout the week, every MVES student had a chance to go visit the Santa shop, which has become a yearly tradition for the school’s parent-teacher organization.

The shop was filled with items ranging from Auburn and Alabama Christmas ornaments, bracelets, toys, tools and jewelry, and all items had a price tag of just a few dollars.

“Every class has come through, and I’d say probably 80 or 90 percent of the students have shopped for their family members,” said PTO volunteer Heather Ray.

Ray said the most popular items included toy helicopters, bracelets, wallets and “anything Alabama or Auburn.” All proceeds from the shop each year are used by the PTO to support the school’s teachers and programs.

In addition to giving the kids a chance to shop for their loved ones, the shop also helps to teach them money management and math skills.

“A lot of the kids get so excited when they come in, and they just grab everything,” Ray said with a laugh. “So we will work with them to budget the money they have so they can shop for everyone on their list.”