In an effort to forever establish myself as the Grinch of Elementary School, I am going to publicly moan over the whole concept of the Santa Shop.
For those of you who don’t have kids in grade school — don’t quit reading this post because you think it doesn’t apply to you. One day, you too will have to fork over money so that your child can buy cheap, crappy dood-dads in the name of giving. (Or, more accurately, fund-raising.)
Egad, spare me.
Imagine Happy Meal-quality toys, the dregs of Hobby Lobby’s inventory and a rock collector’s rejects laid out on rows of tables in the cafeteria or gym. That’s your Santa Shop merchandise. Prices range from $1 to $7, sometimes as much as $12.
Now imagine handing your wee one some cash and a list, and then trusting said child to pick out appropriate “gifts” for family members. Or to truly grasp the meaning and spirit of giving.
Last year, Tootie bought a fake, plastic rose for her sister, some sort of plastic doo-hickey-thingy for her little brother and a rock for her older brother. Then she used the rest of the money to buy herself a bunch of crappy little knick-knacks. A quartz inside a used jewelry box, for example.
The Santa Shop is a PTA fund raiser and I will probably be bombarded with hate email for this post, but — SERIOUSLY? Who dreamed up this thing?
I’m all about encouraging kids to feel the warm glow of giving, but in my world, giving means you put some thought into what you buy.
Or, even better, make.
People who’ve had a year like ours — no raise, paycuts, etc… — don’t have the money to spend on junk.
Which is why I will be giving Tootie only a couple of dollars, and that’s only so won’t be the only one sitting in a classroom.
And I will tell her this: For Christmas, Mommy and Daddy want one of your beautiful drawings or a painting. You and the E-man and I will make a photo book for Daddy. We’ll make something special and personalized for your sister and two brothers. For the family on Daddy’s side, we’ll put together a special book of Mammaw’s recipes. For Mommy’s side, we’ll make a calendar out of your and the E-man’s artwork.
Because these are gifts that will mean something to those who receive them. They’re from your heart and hands.
Not the Santa Shop.