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Good organization lets holiday shop volunteers focus on the kids.


Set Up

Arrange tables so that volunteers can stand behind them as students browse from the front. A simple L-shape or U-shape arrangement will allow for a good flow of people through the shop.

Guide Shoppers

It’s important to keep shoppers moving at a reasonable pace. Placing signs that say “Start here” or “Pay here” can help. You may also want to place signs above the tables indicating what types of 

Display Gifts

Group items with the same price together. Most companies don’t allow price tags to be placed on merchandise. Place a sign on the table or stick a label on the tablecloth to indicate how much items cost.

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

Take Stock

Unless you work with a company that has a “pop and shop” model, it’s best to place a display item on the table and keep the rest of your stock behind it. When students choose to buy an item, a volunteer can pull one from boxes placed on the floor or on a table behind them.

Staff Up

Recruit volunteers to help run the shop. You’ll need at least five volunteers to work simultaneously, and more if your shop is large. Holiday shop vendors recommend having two volunteers per table of merchandise, a general room monitor, and one or two cashiers.

Get Festive

Help shoppers get in the spirit of the season by playing holiday music and decorating the area with seasonal items. If possible, display student art related to the holidays.

Gather Supplies

Keep plenty of pens or pencils on hand so volunteers can mark what gifts a student has selected on vendor-supplied tally sheets or budget envelopes. Have a calculator for each volunteer helping children shop. You’ll also want staplers, scissors, and tape for various tasks.

Sit Down

Teachers may bring their entire class at once to the shop, but in most cases only 10 to 15 students can go through the shop at a time. Provide some chairs outside the shopping area for students who are waiting their turn.

Power Up

Place the cash register(s) on a separate table at the end of the shopping area. Make sure you have access to an electrical outlet or an extension cord to reach a power source.

Wrap Up

If you plan to have a gift-wrap area, place it away from the shopping tables so it won’t create a traffic jam. Have a volunteer on hand to help students.

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