How To Run a School Holiday Shop

At many schools, a holiday shop (also called a Santa shop) is a beloved tradition that gives students the opportunity to pick out gifts for their parents, grandparents, siblings, and other people important to them. Whether you’ve run a holiday shop before or are just starting to think about it, this school holiday shop planning guide for PTOs and PTAs includes helpful information so you can have a well-run event at school or online.

In addition to learning about traditional, touchless, and virtual holiday shops, you’ll get tips on the benefits of using a service provider (and how to choose one), how to get organized for your shop, and creative ways to promote your event, as well as free downloadables to promote your event (flyers, Facebook graphics, and more) and fun thank-you gift ideas for your volunteers.

Inside the School Holiday Shop Planning Guide:

How To Choose a Service Provider
An overview of the benefits of using a service provider, and questions to ask before signing a contract (while all holiday shop companies provide inventory and support, their services can differ, and it’s important to know what you’ll be getting).

Virtual or In-Person Holiday Shops
More holiday shop service providers are offering virtual and in-person holiday shop options. Learn how the different formats work and which might be the best fit for your school parent group.

Organizing Your Shop
Holiday shops are typically easier to organize than PTOs and PTAs might realize, especially if a service provider handles the bulk of the inventory details. Get the scoop on volunteers, supplies, working with teachers, location and setup, inventory planning, cash management, and gift-wrapping.

Field-Tested Tips for Success
Best practices such as giving your group enough time to plan your shop and helping kids stay within their budget.

Detailed Planning Timeline
Including tips for the key ways to promote your school holiday shop.

Thank-You Gift Ideas for Volunteers
Cute, festive, and low-cost ways to let holiday shop helpers know you appreciate their efforts.

Holiday Shop Forms and Tools
Clip art, flyers, volunteer sign-up sheets, budget envelope labels, Facebook graphics, and sample emails to request volunteers.

What Is a School Holiday Shop?

School holiday shops give students the opportunity to look at a range of items and buy holiday gifts (for moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, and even their pets) “in secret” during the school day. They’re often set up and run by PTOs and PTAs in a school library, gym, or other similar area.

Volunteers help children choose gifts and work within their budgets. It’s the enjoyment of helping children and seeing their delight in choosing special gifts that largely accounts for why parent groups do these shops. The holiday timing coupled with the satisfaction of what it provides makes a holiday shop a perennial favorite event and fundraiser.

While previous generations of school and PTO parents relied on moms who liked making sellable crafts or searching year-round for bargain items to sell (and some still do), many parent groups these days are turning to service providers to ease their load. Companies that specialize in holiday shops supply inventory, provide detailed help on running school shops, take back unsold items, and more.

Generally, when schools use a holiday shop service, they order merchandise on consignment—they don’t send money to the service provider until the shop is over, and they only pay for what’s sold. Parent groups are free to mark up the items, but many run a holiday shop as a service and tradition for children rather than as a fundraising activity.

Still have questions? Call us at 800-644-3561; we’re here to help.

Share this page: