The sixth annual Talk Tillsonburg Children Shop for Christmas event is coming Saturday, Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Upper Deck Youth Centre in Tillsonburg.
It took some brainstorming for organizers Cathy Ryan, Angela Farkas and Melissa Justus to come up with a new way to offer children ages 12-and-under the opportunity to select a free Christmas present for mom and dad.
“We put our heads together and thought of a way that we could do it safely,” said Ryan. “I checked in with Rayburn (Lansdell) at Upper Deck, all was good, so we’re a go. We can do it around the (Covid) guidelines and do it safely and still have a pretty good event.”
In past years, a parents/guardian would bring their children to Upper Deck, 19 Queen Street, where the children would pick their parents’ presents from a wide selection of women’s and men’s items, assisted by volunteers from Danscene, then have them wrapped primarily by the Danscene volunteers, who also decorate Upper Deck for the event and make posters.
This year presents will be pre-wrapped.
“I am going to have all the gifts delivered to (Danscene) and they are going to wrap them all,” said Ryan. “All the tags will be addressed ‘To Mom’ or ‘To Dad.’ So all the kids need to do is put their name on it when they take it home.”
Last year 151 children were able to go home with a wrapped gift for mom and dad.
Funds to purchase gifts, as well as newly-purchased gifts donated by the community, will be accepted for the event until about Nov. 14.
“Nothing extravagant, they’re just everyday gifts,” said Ryan. “We don’t expect fancy gifts.”
Contact Cathy Ryan through Facebook (Talk Tillsonburg Children Shop for Christmas) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’ll take donations until probably the weekend before because they still have to get wrapped.”
Another change this year, instead of a table for treats there will be bags of treats for each child.
“I am also going to do the gift basket draw. The parent can fill that out while the child is gathering the gifts.
“So a few changes, but still the same concept. The child won’t know what they are giving them, but I think it will be fun. It will be a big surprise for both of them.
“I think we’ll have a really good year because for so long this year it’s been ‘nothing.’ I think it’s going to well-received this year, something people will want to check out.”