From Holy Spirit Prep
For years, lower school students at Holy Sprit Prep have arrived home early in December with hand decorated shopping bags filled with wrapped gifts for parents, grandparents and siblings.
They are usually some of the first presents to be placed under the family tree. Students anticipate the moment when Mom, Dad, brother, sister, grandma or grandpa, unwraps their personally selected gift from the school's Secret Santa store. But where in the world do all these gifts come from?
Usually, in early July, HSP’s favorite elf, Stephanie McCarty, scurries up and down the massive hallways of the Gift Mart selecting the inventory of over 3,000 items for the Secret Santa shop.
Six years ago, when her son, Ben, was in first grade, she said yes to Kelly Angelo, to serve as the chairperson of the Secret Santa shop. McCarty works with about 80 volunteers.
“Kelly knew I had experience with the Gift Mart and I felt that this would be a great way to volunteer at my son’s school,” said McCarty. Over the years she has discovered what the kids will not buy for their families – tea towels, paper weights or food.
And what has been the hottest item in her six years? “Frogs – African frogs! It was crazy. I had parents emailing me asking to be sure their child got one. The frogs didn’t have a long life expectancy but I would have parents tell me that their frog was still alive 2 years later," McCarty said.
Wind chimes are a favorite for grandparents, she added.