It has become a popular part of December activities at Hillcrest School in Estevan each year: the Christmas Store.
The store represents an opportunity for Hillcrest students to have an in-school shopping experience to teach students about giving to others and thinking of other people before themselves.
“We are opening our Hillcrest store again this year because we find it’s a great way for our students to learn about giving to other people,” said Sara Pippus, who is the school’s community liaison. “It’s one of those things that students often receive at Christmas time, but they don’t often get to experience the joy of learning how to pick out something for someone they love.”
She believes the store helps develop character among students, and is a nice way to involve the community in the school. There is lots of anticipation and questions about when it is being set up and what will be available in the store. Students are also excited to have their turn to shop.
“It’s really exciting to be able to put something that the kids love so much and that the community can be involved in,” she said.
The store will be open at Hillcrest from Dec. 9-13. Students will go through the store and select a gift for someone that they love, be it a parent, a grandparent, a friend, a neighbour or someone else.
Elves will wrap the gifts for the students, who will then be able to take the gift home in time to deliver it to their special someone before Christmas.
“We have lots of good volunteers from the community who are once again working towards setting things up and already sorting items that are coming in,” said Pippus.
The students typically have more than one opportunity to shop at the store but that will depend on the generosity of the community.
“The community has been so good to us that we never had a problem with that in the past,” she said.
The school is looking for good, new or gently used items to be donated to this shop. They accept all donations including cash, which will be used to purchase items to help fill the store. A receipt can be issued for tax donations.
Pippus said they have already received some donations.
“People know enough about the program that as … soon as we open it up to the public, people know that it’s time and they start bringing things in,” said Pippus.
Hillcrest typically needs more items that fathers or grandfathers might be interested in. Cash donations they receive will be used to purchase the items they might not have for the store, so that the store is well-rounded.
Donations can be dropped off at the school Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., until Dec. 9.