Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Mini Mall

Happy one week until Christmas Eve!
That picture is for J who wondered how my "thrifty decor chick" Walmart jars and ornaments turned out. What do you think J? Was it worth that crazy trip to Walmart that neither of us really had time for, yes? You can find the original idea here. LOVE it!

I forgot that I was excited to tell you about a really cute ministry at my mother-in-law's church called the Mini Mall! Her church has been putting on the Mini Mall for years and they have it down to a science. This year Lulu, her brother and I were available to go and help...we were Elves, how cool is that??
All through the year the "mini mall committee" meets weekly and makes crafts (aahhh, our dream come true, to do crafts weekly...) and organizes all the donations. Donations can be anything really...stuff you are getting rid of or new items. Too many mugs? Too many votive candles? Kids books? Stuffed animals? Picture frames? Christmas ornaments? Send them all to the mini mall. The ladies of the church will take a mug and fill it with golf balls and tie a ribbon around it for a "dad gift". They do a great job.
On the day of the mini mall, all the items are displayed on tables in the church, there is punch and Christmas cookies and in come the children! They usually take about 100 children through the mini mall to shop, it is controlled chaos! Here's how it works...
1. Kids come in with parents and get a number, they sit at tables and mom and dad help them fill out tags for all the people they are shopping for.
2. When their number is called they go shopping with an Elf. The Elves see how much money the child has and how many gifts they need to buy and help them keep track of everything. We make suggestions to help them choose gifts..."Does your mom like candles? Does your little sister like books?" When they make a selection the Elf tapes the tag to the item and puts it in the basket they are carrying.
3. When the kids are done shopping they go to the "check out" table and pay for their gifts. Most mini mall items are 50 cents or one dollar but some kids come with $10 and a list of 15 relatives! So cute!
4. All paid up, now they proceed to the wrapping room where the ladies from the church take all the gifts and wrap each one and attach the tag to the wrapped gift.
5. The children are delivered back to their parents with a big bag of wrapped gifts for everyone in their family. And let me tell you these kids are thrilled!

This ministry is so awesome for these families, it takes all the focus off "what am I getting for Christmas" and instead these kids are so excited to pick out little surprises for their loved ones, it is really so sweet. It is lots of fun being an Elf, some of the choices the kids make are hilarious. I helped a 3 year old little girl shop and she picked out a hot pink stuffed poodle for her mom! She'll be surprised for sure!!
It was a fun Christmas-y day for us and made us feel good to see smiles on all those little faces.

Nel's smile for the week: Craft night and cookie exchange tonight! WOOHOO!!
Nel's frown for the week: Wish I had a dollar for each time I have fixed the Christmas tree skirt, my cats LOVE to play under it and mess it all up!
Naughty wild animals!

Lulu's smile for the week: She made the cute magnets from E's post and gave them to all her friends to use in their lockers! They loved them!
Lulu's frown for the week: We thought sure there would be a snow day this such luck! BOO!


  1. aww!! i want to donate my old craft items to this!! Where do I do it??! ~*S*~

  2. That is so great! What an awesome idea :) ~E


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