Holiday shopping facilitated by kids, for kids, returns

A holiday gift shop with young personal helpers for kids has returned to Vanderhoof this season.

Emily Bueckert (left) chats with holiday gift shop helper Macy James-Schneider at Evelyn Dickson Elementary on Nov. 25.

A holiday gift shop with young personal helpers for kids has returned to Vanderhoof this season.

From Nov. 23 to Nov. 25, Amy Oldham’s Grade 6 students in Evelyn Dickson Elementary hosted the Holiday Gift Shop for the school’s students, as well as for the public after school hours.

“It is a safe place for kids to come and shop with a personal helper to select gifts for friends and loved ones,” Oldham said.

Each elementary school student was given a take-home shopping list in advance for planning, and classes toured the shop on Monday to check out the available gifts.

With half an hour allotted to each class for shopping on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it was barely enough time for the young shoppers, Oldham said.

Some students continued shopping during recess and the lunch hour, and some Grade 6 student helpers gave up their break time to help out, she added.

It was a learning opportunity for Oldham’s Grade 6 class, as they learned and practised related skills in preparation for the gift shop, Oldham said.

“Before this, we practised adding decimals, how to sell merchandise, how to stock, how to wrap,” she said.

The students were in charge of keeping the gift shop counters stocked, ensuring that all planned gifts were found and not going over their budget, she added.

In fact, the idea for the gift shop came from the school’s aboriginal education worker Judith Loranger, who is also involved with the EDS’s student council, Oldham said.

Having seen the gift shop’s success a few years ago, Loranger has suggested it as a fundraiser for the class’s end-of-year field trip, she said.

“It’s fun for the kids,” Loranger said.

For Grade 6 students Macy James-Schneider and Kailie Kusler, being a gift shop personal helper was a positive experience.

“It’s easy,” James-Schneider said. “You write down what they want…gift wrapping, keeping tables stocked.”

Kusler said, “It’s fun, helping kids out, giving them ideas, trying to find gifts.”

For Jolene Bueckert, accompanying her daughter Emily who studies Grade 1 in EDS, it’s an excellent experience, she said.

They have both visited the gift shop in the past, when her older daughter, who currently attends high school, was a personal helper as well, Bueckert said.

“At a young age, it teaches them the value of things.”