'Santa's Toy Shop' teaches kids the reason for giving

December 22, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD


About 60 preschoolers in Boonsboro discovered where Santa kept his toy shop.

"Is it my turn to go to the toy shop? Is it my turn to pick something out?" asked 4-year-old Abby Graves.

A giant elf, really 5-foot-4-inch teacher Tina Morgan, squatted to Abby's level and said, "Yes."

She took Abby by the hand and led her to "Santa's Toy Shop," the decorated hallway of Mt. Nebo Christian Preschool.

Students at the private Boonsboro school each will pay a visit to "Santa's Toy Shop" to pick out gifts for their loved ones, said Morgan, the school's kindergarten teacher. The students then go to "The Gingerbread House" - a "room" in the corner of the cafeteria made from cardboard, plastic candy canes and pillow-stuffing snow - where they wrap and label the gifts.


"We wanted to teach them a lesson in the true spirit of giving," Morgan said. "We wanted something that stands out to kids. Once you get their attention, you can teach them about the true meaning of Christmas."

Donovan Kisner, 2, picked out an angel figurine for his mother and a Tom and Jerry tie for his father. In the gingerbread house, Donovan placed the tie, now crumpled into a ball, at the center of a huge swath of wrapping paper.

"Can you help me wrap this?" he asked.

Abby picked out three items for her mom, grandma and grandpa. She took particular interest in a wreath she picked out for her mother.

"I already have one wreath but I want two," Abby said. "I want to hang it on the tree."

Preschool director Mary Martin said it is the first year the school has had a toy shop for the children. Parents donated the items that lined the tables of the makeshift shop, Martin said.

Last year, students gave out gifts on each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas, Morgan said. They also received gifts.

"I wanted them to know what it was like to give and receive," Morgan said.

She said most of her students, though they are young, understand the concept of gift giving.

Little squares of tape dotted the wrapping around one of Toma Chestnut's gifts, a singing snowman tie for her father.

"Jingle Bells" hummed through the packaging as Toma pressed tape onto the paper, activating the button that made the tie sing.

Martin casually turned on a nearby CD player, starting up a verse of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Meanwhile, 5-year-old Brock Kugler had no problems wrapping his gifts for his parents. He got a wooden plaque for his mother and a calculator for his father.

When asked why he chose the gifts, Brock said "'cause I wanted to. It's important to share."

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