Anyone have advice on how to do a Santa shop? I'm co-chair with another PTO member and let's just say that things are going less than smoothly. Our personalities are very different and it's making this really stressful instead of fun. We disagree on what items to purchase--what have done well at your school? (particularly for dads/grandpas) Also, do you prewrap? Trying to wrap 1500 items ahead of time is really not feasible, but that's what she wants done. Our school is pre-k to 8th grade...I suggested that we only wrap pre-K to 3rd grade, but she has an all or nothing attitude. HELP!
Ok here goes, at our school K4-4th we allow 1 hour per class to shop we have various holiday paper already cut apart into different sizes with plenty of tape on hand to let the kids wrap their own gifts (they take pride in it) we also send home with our workshop paper an envelope as well as a sheet of paper with about 10 gift tags printed out on it in which the child usually puts on who the gifts are for and their names sometimes they forget to do this so we have plenty of extra at the shop. For the items we sell we do two things go to the dollar store and buy items ie: tape measures, lotions and soaps, dish towels, small Holiday decorations etc. but most of our items are through our fund raiser company that brings in plenty of items. For dads and grandpas we can never keep enough flashlights, tapemeasures or ice scrapers on hand. We even do a pet section from the dollar tree with various toys for cats, dogs. We also do pet treats like 10 biscuts for dogs for $1.00. Hope this gives you some help, the most important thing is to keep it fun and simple.
Our school successfully ran our own Holiday Shop after much frustration from companies that came into the school. I admire you for taking on such a challenge-the rewards are well worth it, watching the kids have fun while shopping (and not for extremely overpriced junk) has encouraged me to run things again this year. After reading your post I checked out my inventory list from last year for mens items. (I'm very late with my shopping this year!) Things we offered included hankercheif's, calendars, umbrellas, keychains, ice scrappers, CD holders, football frames, "Dad" ornaments, Texas Holdem' sets, Nascar memo pads, Nutcrackers. You aren't alone in trying to find quality items for Men-Womens items are much easier. I will say that the Womens items sold much quicker than our Mens items. When we closed shop at lunch I had to go out an buy more womens merchandise.
As for bags, we used printed holiday bags (10 for $1 at Dollar Store) for small items, we received a donation of white craft handled bags w/ tissue paper for medium items. I've had no luck in getting any donations this year and will have to buy them about $75 for 250-Look for bag companies in your area. Anything else we wrapped. I've already put the word out that we will need lots of adult help this day. This is where we had the longest lines at our shop. It's a wonderful opportunity for not only parents, but grandparents and family friends to volunteer their time and to get in the holiday spirit.
I should also say that all of our merchandise is priced at $2, with a five item limit per student. When shopping for items for the store we try to buy things priced between $1 and $1.50; Thankfully we have a lot of deal finders in our parent group. Pricing everything at $2 worked really well as many kids spent their own money and it wasn't the hassle of trying to figure out how much to spend on each person-Mom and Dad get $5 each, but Grandma and Grandpa only $3 each.
Good luck and have fun. Don't let that scrooge bring you down!
Why pre-wrap. You're taking the fun away from the child by wraping their gifts for them. Our school gives the child bags with a pre-printed gift tag on them so the child can use them to wrap the gifts or the parent will help them. To wrap all those gifts (and you have to make sure that nothing is broken before wrapping) is a huge undertaking and may cause concern for parents when they don't know, for sure, what their child purchased. I know I would want to see what my son purchased before he presented it to someone in the family.
Our Santa shop is more of a craft show. The vendors are not allowed to charge more than $10 per item and most are $5 and much lower. All has to be homemade and there is a committee that will inspect items before the kids start shopping. They will then have to remove items that do not meet requirements. We always have at least 15 volunteers for wrapping. The older Girl Scout troops have put together bags out of wrapping paper for easier wrapping. Parents will donate wrapping paper, tags, tape if you only ask.