5 Tips for a Very Merry Holiday Shop


A holiday shop for kids is a fun way for PTOs and PTAs to help celebrate the season at school. Here are some tips to make your shop a success.

by Poornima Apte


Organizing a holiday shop for kids is a fun way for PTOs and PTAs to help celebrate the season at school. It involves setting up a small store where you offer gifts that students can purchase for their family members and friends. There are several holiday shop companies that provide the merchandise and tools to make your event a success. The inexpensive gift items come on a consignment basis, which means you only pay for what you sell and return the rest. Whether your group’s shop is a small fundraiser or a service provided for the kids, here are some tips to make your shop a success.

Holiday shop how-to! Choosing a vendor, getting organized, and lots of promotional tools

Consider the Inventory

There’s a reason why inventory management is a science unto itself—it’s difficult to predict just what customers will like. Kids in particular can be notoriously fickle when it comes to taste. The holiday shop company you choose should be able to give you insight into what’s popular this year, but it’s always a good idea to go straight to the source. Ask the kids, even your own kids, about what they like and what they don’t. Some companies might even send you samples in advance to view the quality of the gifts. Check your company’s reorder policy. What happens if an item sells out fast? Ask vendors whether they can ship product quickly to avoid running out of something popular.

Keep It Simple

While grown-ups love plenty of options (consider the salad dressing aisle at any grocery store, for example), kids can get overwhelmed easily if you present them with too many products. Keep things simple: Sort gifts by recipient and stock a few knickknacks for a little self-indulgence. “I love Mom” and “I love Dad” tokens are always popular, as are products with lots of color. Elegant and understated are not in kids’ vocabularies, so go for the bold and the beautiful. Make sure to offer gifts for pets. Set low price points so a little cash can go far and children can check off their lists without making a big dent in their parents’ budget.

Offer Personal Shopping Services

Even when you keep things simple, many children will have trouble making decisions. That’s one reason it’s important to regulate the flow of kids into your store. Try to have one volunteer per table—that way, you can help each child choose and pay. As well, you’ll be able to keep an eye on merchandise to make sure temptation doesn’t get the better of any of your shoppers.

Help Kids Participate

Even if you price your merchandise at low price points, some children might not be able to make purchases. In the spirit of the season, open your holiday shop to all. A few dollars from your parent group’s rainy day fund might be enough to offset such realities. One way to do this is to provide gift certificates that teachers can hand out to kids who they know will need them. Some companies may even offer certificates as a signing bonus.

Include Extras

Customers, especially pint-size ones, love the small touches and freebies. One nice add-on is a gift-wrapping station where you wrap the gift or let children wrap their own (if they’re able). Colorful gift bags make it easy, and large stick-on bows (extra points for glitter) make a nice touch. Stamp kids’ hands with a fun holiday motif or give them a temporary tattoo as a special “thank you” for shopping.

Originally posted in 2015 and updated regularly.

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