Donations are needed at the hamper society - this time for the parents of Christmas hamper families and especially for dads.
For the 11th year, the volunteers of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society will be hosting their Kids Only Gift Shoppe for the children of registered families.
In 2011, more than 500 children visited the gift shop and chose presents for their parents, which were wrapped and sent home with the child.
"It's kind of magical," said volunteer Joan Granholm of the kids shopping event. "It kind of gives you the Christmas spirit all over."
Volunteers have been collecting donations for the Kids Only Shoppe, but currently there are about 20 boxes of gifts for moms, but only three boxes of gifts for dads.
Suggestions for gifts for dads include small handtools, shaving kits, hats, scarves, gloves, and lots of socks, Canucks items, coffee cups and mugs, T-shirts with logos, barbecue items, joke books and trivia books, license plate holders, and anything automotive, especially small items likes ice scrapers.
Children often choose a few small items, not the large expensive ones, Granholm said. "For children, quantity is quality."
The Christmas hamper society is asking the community to dig through their closets and sheds and garages and look for new items that just aren't going to be used and bring them to the hamper office at the Albion Fairgrounds to be "regifted" for the Kids Only Shoppe, which Granholm calls the "quintessential regifting" place.
"This is where old gifts go to die," she said.
Socks are always appreciated, and the Christmas hamper volunteers get creative with them - often packing chocolates inside a cup and the cup inside a sock.
"We go through a lot of socks between the men and the teen boys," Granholm said.
Kim Spence spends a lot of time volunteering with the Kids Only Shoppe, and on the day of the big shop she helps things run smoothly.
As the children go around choosing gifts, volunteers walk around helping them choose. Then in the wrapping area, wrappers package the gifts and the children can choose a card.
Spence got goosebumps when she recalled a boy who desperately wanted to give his dad a disco ball that was at the Kids Only Shoppe, and, four years later, it still hangs in his dad's truck.
The Kids Only Gift Shoppe will be open Dec. 15, a week later than most years to give the opportunity, to as many families as possible.
"There are so many people who register late so we don't want anyone to miss out," said Lorraine Bates, co-chair of the Christmas hamper society.
Santa Claus is also at the fairgrounds on the Kids Only Shoppe day, and each child will receive a gift and a free photo with Santa.
Donations can be dropped off at the Christmas hamper office located at the Albion fairgrounds. The hamper office is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Gift bags in all sizes, tissue paper, and gift tags are also appreciated.
For more information, call Lorraine Bates at the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper office at 604-463-6922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.