News

Washington YMCA annual Christmas bazaar Saturday

Union file photo

YMCA of Washington County Christmas Bazaar visitor Hernan Atilano, 5, shops for Christmas gifts for his family with some help from Amy Schulte. The bazaar offers low priced gifts for children to give to family members.
Union file photo YMCA of Washington County Christmas Bazaar visitor Hernan Atilano, 5, shops for Christmas gifts for his family with some help from Amy Schulte. The bazaar offers low priced gifts for children to give to family members.

WASHINGTON — Area children will have an opportunity to accomplish their Christmas shopping this weekend as the Washington YMCA is hosting its annual Christmas bazaar.

Amy Schulte, Association Director for the YMCA of Washington County, said she remembers attending the event as a child. On Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m., children will create a list of 10 items they would like to purchase as Christmas gifts for family members.

Schulte said upon check-in, each child will fill out gift tags for the people they are shopping for. Parents and younger siblings can wait outside the doors and enjoy coloring pages, a movie and cookies and milk while the shoppers get to work.

Each child will be assigned an elf, a volunteer from the Y acting as their personal shopper, to assist them. She said each item is priced from $0.25 to $5, and range from jewelry to books to items for dads and grandpas.

After the items are paid for, kids are taken to a wrapping center where the purchases are wrapped, gift tagged and ready to be set under the tree at home. Last year the event brought in 80 kids, which was smaller than years past. She said this year the staff is expecting about 100 kids for the last Christmas bazaar in the current building. The construction on the new Y building is set to be finished June 2020.

“It’s exciting to move into a new building but since it’s always been here it’s a little nostalgic,” she said.

The bazaar is open to children from any town and a membership to the Y is not required. She said the only requirement is that the list stays at 10 items and under to ensure each child who attends has an opportunity to purchase something because the goal is to give kids an opportunity to be involved in the gift giving process using what they have saved up in their piggy banks.

Schulte said it takes about 20 volunteers to put on the event every year, as well as donations from various service clubs and organizations. She said the hard work all becomes worth it when the kids leave with smiles on their faces.

“They’re very excited to walk out with their gifts. A lot of times they can’t hold onto the excitement and they’re telling mom and dad what they bought them as they’re walking out the door. It’s so cute to see the pride that they have because it’s something they picked out on their own and get to put under the Christmas tree,” she said.