by Lisa Tome
For a few days each year, Karol Rosado goes from being a mother and PTO president to shopkeeper.
Rosado, president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Thomson Estates Elementary School, was minding the store last week, ringing up students purchases. The school's Holiday Shop opened for business from December 3-6.
"The kids look forward to it," said Rosado. The store, held in the school's community room sells gifts to students. The goal is that they buy for parents, siblings, and grandparents.
Rosado said that students typically look for a "pretty" gift for their mom and practical tools or flashlights for their fathers. Gifts with a ranking that day #1 Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandfather are also a hot ticket with children.
"Things are very affordable. Everything costs from 25 cents to $6," said Rosado. The children also buy something small for themselves. Other hot items at the Holiday Shop were stuffed animals, door hangers where you can leave a note, jewelry stand, pet items, and favorite team keychains.
Shawn Caldarelli volunteered to help at the shop. Caldarelli had one of the more tedious jobs. He was wrapping everything that students bought. "The kids are excited. It's nice to interact with them. The kids asked me if I work for Santa or if I'm an elf," said Caldarelli, whose wife works at the school. He said he frequently signs on to volunteer because three of his children have attended Thomson Estates. "It's good to help out," he said.
Months before Rosado and Caldarelli were busy at work, PTO officers Caroline Cebula and Kimberly Weese were hard at work. The pair handled the ordering and purchasing of items for the shop. The shop is not intended as a fundraiser. It's done as a service to the students. Wrapping paper, tape, and gift labels are donated.
This year, the shop was also open one evening. On Friday night, December 6, as part of Winter Village at the school, parents were able to make purchases. There was also a visit from Santa, a crafting area, a book fair, and desserts, popcorn, and drinks.