Hold on to your hot cocoa, folks—it’s time to get your Polar Express on! Decorating for the school holiday shop is, hands-down, one of the most fun PTO duties to volunteer for. After all, nothing beats turning paper plates into peppermint swirl candy decorations or wrapping 10-foot tables into giant presents!

So don your favorite Christmas sweater and get that Pinterest board fired up because we’ve rounded up some of the prettiest, jolliest holiday shop decoration ideas that PTO leaders can dream of (#ptolife, right?).

(Psst: Get customizable holiday shop printables (Candy Cane Lane, Winter Wonderland, and more) along with planning tips in our free School Holiday Shop Guide download.

1. There’s nothing like a giant Elf on the Shelf to encourage good behavior in the shopping lines (just sayin’).

 

2. Hang oversize holiday light decorations (made out of Solo cups, balloons, and ribbon) from the ceiling.


via That Is Really Pinteresting

 

3. Staple together plastic cups to make a 3-D snowman.

4. Line the walls with brown paper for that just-right gingerbread effect.

 

5. After you’re done covering the walls in “gingerbread,” suspend some jolly cardboard cutouts from the ceiling (you know you want to).

 

6. To complete the look, turn those cardboard boxes you’ve been stockpiling into decorated gingerbread houses. (Hey, we PTO leaders have our reasons for shopping Amazon Prime.)

 

7. Step up your setup with display cases for merchandise and giant empty boxes wrapped as presents.

 

8. Speaking of presents, don’t forget about a gift-wrapping station! Enlist the help of a few “gangsta wrapper” volunteers to get ’er done.

 

9. Make a fireplace out of cardboard boxes (you know you’ve been waiting to do this all year).

10. Set up a simple photo station with a fun wrapping paper backdrop, sparkly garland, and holiday lights.


via Little Pumpkin Grace

 

11. Paint paper plates to make peppermint swirl candy decorations. As if you had anything else planned this weekend, right?

 

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

12. All aboard the Polar Express to the holiday shop!

 

13. Speaking of which, what good is a train without a proper track? Make one out of paper and black duct tape.


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A Future and A Hope

 

14. Wrap tables into presents.


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Little Party Love

 

15. You might as well wrap the doors while you’re at it!


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Teacher Blog Spot

 

16. If you can make your lobby look like this, imagine what the school holiday shop around the corner looks like....

 

17. Assemble colored balloons into a holiday tree.

 

18. Turn that pile of pool noodles you got on summer clearance into giant holiday lollipops.

 

19. Decorate the tops of the walls with cotton snow. We promise your school’s custodian won’t mind (anything for the kids, right?).

 

20. Blue tablecloths make for an icy, snowy (and inexpensive) backdrop.

 

21. Make the tables festive with Christmas trees made out of pine cones, spray paint, and pom-poms. Or let the students decorate their own when they’re done shopping.


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Elementary Art Fun

 

22. And just in case your school holiday shop coordinator suggests you need a mascot to welcome the kiddos, we have the perfect costume:


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Kitchen Stewardship

 

Get more holiday shop how-tos, including printables for different themes (Candy Cane Lane, Winter Wonderland, and more), in our free School Holiday Shop Guide download.