AYER — With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the malls are packed with crazed, stressed-out shoppers looking for pillow pets and Wii games, and the Internet is hopping as e-commerce becomes more popular than walking into a store.
But the student body at Page Hilltop School in Ayer has another option for finding and purchasing the perfect gift for their loved ones — the PTA’s Holiday Shop.
For the past three months, parents Brenda Magno and Paula Gravelle have been shopping for quality, yet inexpensive items to fill the aisles of the Holiday Shop.
“We put a lot of time into selecting the items so that there is something for everyone,” Gravelle said.
“It really brings joy to your heart to help a child find just the perfect gift for someone they care about.”
On Saturday, Dec. 4, Page Hilltop’s Cultural Arts Room was transformed by Magno and Gravelle with the help of some PTO elves into a winter wonderland/shopping extravaganza.
“The holiday shop is something I look forward to every year,” Magno said. “It warms your heart to see the kids embracing the spirit of giving during the holiday season.”
There were six tables set up — one for mother, aunt and grandmother gifts, one for dad, uncle and grandpa gifts, one designated for girl items, one for boy stuff, one for baby, toddler, and pet paraphernalia, and one for ornaments.
“There were a lot of shoppers at Page-Hilltop who knew just what they wanted to purchase. This year, posters, candles and snowman figurines were very popular along with the dog cookies and cat toys,” Gravelle mentioned.
Each class in the school picked a 30-minute block of time to come and shop for the people (and pets) in their lives. The cost of all items was $1. Gravelle added that this helps the children manage their money in a grown-up, responsible way.
“They know that if they have five things in their basket, it will cost $5.”
First-grader Samantha Murphy spent a long time deciding what to buy for her mother, father, brothers and pets.
“There are so many things,” she said. “But I know just what to get for my brothers!”
There were flashlights, books, glass angels, candles, ornaments and pins — but the selection didn’t stop there.
“We try to provide a large selection of items so there are many things to choose from. You can’t help but smile when you see a child find just the right thing for someone they obviously love,” said Magno.
The Holiday Shop was open every day during the second week of December and also the evening of Dec. 9 for some family shopping.
“The family shopping night is great,” Gravelle noted. “Not only can families do some purchasing of our holiday items, but they can also take advantage of the Scholastic Book Fair, which goes on at the same time as the PTA Shop.”