Holiday cheer returns to Christmas House after pandemic break
EVERETT – Santa’s Workshop is back in North Everett this year.
The elves – er, the volunteers – were busy Monday morning turning the Boys & Girls Club into a happy holiday store run by the non-profit Christmas House. Starting Wednesday, low-income families can browse a plethora of free gifts to wrap for their little ones. This will mark 40 years of the joyous tradition.
Funko POP! figurines were sticking out of the shelves, story books of frogs and toads begging to be read aloud, and shopping carts were filled with handmade quilts. A towering maze of even more goodies lurked behind a row of curtains, ensuring the store will be fully stocked throughout the three-week operation.
In 2020, the pandemic put the brakes on the traditional Christmas House store. Instead of parents choosing the toys in person, the items were delivered through food banks. Space constraints meant fewer toys were in the hands of local children. And the annual joy of the Christmas House in person was missed.
“So much work is required during these 12 months of the year, and getting to this end point and not being able to open – it has hit us hard,” said Tish Casavola, who has been volunteering for the association for a decade. . “I like interacting with parents. They are amazing.
This year the shop will look more or less like a normal year with the exception of mandatory masks and limited occupancy. Turnout could be higher than in recent years due to the pandemic. The Christmas House is ready to distribute around three times as many items as last year.
This includes kid-sized bikes refurbished by Everett’s Sharing Wheels community bike store, and things like wrapping paper and decoration so families can plan a bright Christmas season.
“I don’t know anywhere in the county where people can get what they get here,” said Christmas House President Gregg Milne. He noted that many charitable gift programs do not include 18-year-olds.
Residents of Snohomish County with a child in their care are eligible if their household income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty line. Bring ID and proof of residency, guardianship, and income to the store, where tickets will be distributed from 7 a.m. Children are not allowed inside.
The boutique will operate from Tuesday to Saturday until December 18th. A few hundred tickets are handed out each day and the store is regularly replenished so families don’t have to worry about which day to show up.
Some volunteer positions still need to be filled and donations are still being accepted. These can be dropped off at the Boys & Girls Club, 2316 12th St., Everett.
And don’t worry, bad gift givers: Christmas House has some suggestions on how to brighten up the holidays for local kids. DIY kits and rc cars are on the list for ages 9 to 12. For teens – perhaps the most difficult to buy – consider makeup sets, telescopes, and sports equipment.
Christmas House started in 1981 in a local garage. But the 40-year milestone won’t include much fanfare.
“We’re pretty low-key,” Milne said. “Our mission is the children. ”
Want to help?
Learn more about how to volunteer or donate at Christmas-house.org/.