December 8, 2008

Holiday Shop


I always spend my money wisely and enjoy helping other people--especially young people--do the same. That's why I jumped at the chance to volunteer at the elementary school's annual holiday shop fundraiser.

On this special day, the school cafeteria is converted into a shopping mall where the PTA sells Dollar Store merchandise for a 200% profit. Every student gets 20 minutes to spend an envelope full of money that their parents give them on presents for specific family members... unless, of course, their parents don't give them any money, in which case, they spend their 20 minutes trying to talk their classmates into sharing the wealth.

When I saw that Camber was among the throngs of moochers, I gave her $8 and told her to buy gifts for me, Tim, and Tim's parents. Once my daughter disappeared into the sea of pint-sized shoppers, I turned my attention to the two kindergartners whom I was assigned to assist.

Jason didn't need any help from me. He made really good selections all on his own. His purchases included a $3 flying angel porcelain figurine with sparkly wings for his mom, a tube of hot pink lipstick for his Dad, and a pair of plaid-checked oven mitts imprinted with the phrase "World's Best Cook" for his baby sister.

After Jason cashed out, I told him to sit against the cafeteria wall and wait for his classmates to finish up. When I went to check on him five minutes later, he was wearing the oven mitts...and the lipstick.

By the time I got to Kylie, she was mostly done. Her shopping bag was overflowing with high-quality loot including 3 Phillies pennants, a "bleeding eye" bouncy ball, and a small arsenal of personalized office supplies.

"That's a lot of stuff," I observed when the bag became so heavy that Kylie began dragging it across the floor. "I wish that I had that many presents."

Kylie looked at me like I was missing some marbles.

"You can, silly," she said as she grabbed a ruler off of the table that read "Grandma keeps me in line!" and put it in her bag.

That's when I realized that all of Kylie's gifts were stolen.

I was in the midst of trying to console the hysterical kindergartner when another kindergartner approached, carrying a $7 purple lava lamp.

"You and grandma and Dad can all share this," Camber said. "But we'll keep it in my room, so you don't fight over it."

Ahhhhh, money well spent.

In case you're wondering, Camber's last dollar was spent on a gift for Tim's Dad. It's a magnet that says, appropriately, #1 Uncle.

15 comments

Tender Mercies said...

Jana, I'm so happy we had Indian food last week with Gayla. It was perfect timing for me--I really need to get going on grants & diss. I have loved reading your blog--you're great!
Jenny

Lisa Loo said...

You just crack me up!! I am often accused of being too sarcastic with my humor---when I read your blog--I blow raspberries on their accusations. I HATE thatSanta store thing--someone loves me this year and they banned it from our elementary. Yes Virginia--Santa stores are not true.

Steph said...

A purple lava lamp???!!!No wonder she wants to keep it in her room--you four would be BRAWLING over that one.

Wish you took a picture of Jason with the oven mitts and lipstick...

mom22 said...

i can totally remember our secret santa shop in grade school. Crafts the nuns made and then sold. How many felt angel ornaments did y mom & grandma really need? Oh and the pipe cleaner candy canes. Sounds like they've gotten fancy after all these years. Just more to look forward to with my little guys. thanks for my daily laugh!

Makayla said...

LOL. She is awesome.

Jana said...

Steph: I too lament the loss of a picture opportunity...and I even had my camera with me too! It was in my jacket pocket. Unfortunately, I took it off because all of the pressure of making sure kindergartners didn't steal stuff from the holiday shop made me sweat.

Next time I will not be so careless.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! The Ele. school where my boys go do something like this but they use points to buy things. They do this every December. Every year my Sons read like mad men trying to get enough points to get me something "real good"!

I must say they both have great taste in gifts. They always pick out an ornament for the Christmas tree. I will keep them forever and ever!

Lani said...

This post was hysterical:) I have had a hard day, so thanks:)

Nikki said...

Just between you and me: I am glad to know I am not the only mother with a kindergartner who likes to steal things: so far, he as only taken stuff from Grandma's house, but its pretty sad when you have to do a pocket check because he spent just that much more time in front of the candy....AHHH, the joys of motherhood

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I have never even heard of this holiday shop concept and it is CRAZY. It's like guaranteeing that every parent will get the gift they least desired. Of course, I just remembered that my kids got me that pedi-egg thing for a recent gift, and that was even with adult (ahem, husband) supervision, so maybe there's no hope for desirable presents anyway.

ShopDownLite.com said...

Too Funny - mine are too small yet - but I'm looking forward for the '#1 Uncle' from my daughter!
Stef

Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan



http://www.car-insurance-choices.com

My Three Sons said...

Oh my gosh this is hysterical. Of course now I'm wondering what my little Kindergartener will be coming home with AND wishing I'd warned him NOT to give any of his money away. We'll see what happens!!!!!!

My Three Sons said...

My little man did great shopping! I posted about his purchases.

http://www.lisanoel03.blogspot.com

Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan

http://www.car-insurance-choices.com