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Horizon’s Elf Shelf a ‘hot’ shopping stop

The merchandise may not be on par with Neiman Marcus or Tiffany, but Elf Shelf purchases are priceless to students at Horizon Elementary School.

Elf Shelf shopping at Horizon. (Photo courtesy of Amy Williams)

 

Horizon students are observing a tradition in Madison City Schools by completing their Christmas shopping at the Elf Shelf.

Teacher Amy Williams describes the Elf Shelf as “a mini-store for our students to go and shop for their family and friends for holiday gifts. It is sponsored by our PTA.” Williams works with Horizon students with hearing impairments.

Students can browse more than 100 different items at the Elf Shelf, including lotions, jewelry, tools, socks, ornaments, mugs and toys. Classes shop together at a designated time during the week. Prices range from 50 cents to $20.

Annually in early December, Horizon PTA sponsors the Elf Shelf program, “designed to empower students by being able to purchase inexpensive gifts for family members and friends. Our volunteers gift wrap and label each gift so that the student can bring home wrapped gifts for to put under their families’ Christmas trees” (horizonelementarypta.com).

Karen Purser coordinates Horizon’s Elf Shelf and said this shopping experience has been offered more than 20 years in Madison City Schools. She started this volunteer work when her youngest children entered school. “Children can shop for their families secretly and safely,” Purser said.

Immediately after Christmas, Purser starts shopping for the upcoming year and purchases everything herself for about $10,000 at stores like Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Target and Dollar Tree.

Elf Shelf prices are not marked up, so no profit is generated.

Along with Pursuer, approximately 50 volunteers help out at the Elf Shelf, including Stacy Hull and Robin Lawson.

The entire school participates. Kindergartners to sixth-graders alike enjoy the shopping. For dads, tools are popular gifts. Students buy lotions and jewelry for moms.

Purser once asked a student, “Who are you buying that for?” A young boy answered, “My mom … she loves LEGOs.”

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