Shhh! Students secretly shop at Elf Shelf

In a longstanding tradition, elementary students shop the Elf Shelf and not only buy gifts but learn that giving is more important than receiving.

The Horizon Elementary School PTA sponsors the Elf Shelf as a service to the students, coordinator Karen Purser said. “We hope to help the students learn how to handle and budget their money and choose to buy gifts for their family and friends,” Purser said.

“We always hope to shine a positive light on the gift-giving experience,” she said.

Purser estimated that 500 of Horizon’s 550 students shopped at the Elf Shelf. Enrichment teacher Beth Bero helped her students record commercials and a how-to video for students to watch before their shopping trip to the Elf Shelf.

“I truly enjoyed working with the students and seeing how happy they were to pick out presents for their family on their own,” Purser said.

The Elf Shelf offered a large selection of gifts for relatives, friends and even the family dog and cat. Most gifts cost about $5 but range from 50 cents to $20. Students browsed bath and body lotions, LEGOs, “Angry Birds” games and Stella & Dot jewelry.

Popular choices were “Squinkies,” a plastic ball that opens to reveal a small, soft animal, car or doll. “‘Mighty Beans’ are hard plastic, bean-shaped toys with a weighted magnet that flips end over end. We had the ‘Star Wars’ theme,” Purser said.

Mothers, fathers and grandparents volunteered their time to help students select gifts within their budget. “We wrapped all gifts for the students to take home,” Purser said.

Purser’s twins, Gibson and Hayden, are first-graders at Horizon. “Their Nana helped them pick out gifts for each other and for Mom and Dad,” Purser said. “They are usually so excited that we have to open our presents the day they shop. This year we are keeping them wrapped and a secret until Christmas.”

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