Last week I had the opportunity to play Mrs. Claus at the local school. The staff was overwhelmed with sorting and wrapping donated gifts. They asked if I could come in on Wednesday and help finish the task.

donated toys

...piles of donated toys take over the nurses' office...

I took over the school nurse’s office with boxes and stacks of toys piled on every available surface. I was given a list of every student sorted by grade—100+ students in grades pre-school through 8th grade. My job was to pick out an appropriate toy for each child to be wrapped by Santa’s elves in the 7th and 8th grade class.

Sounds easy, right?

It took hours to balance out the toys for each class: finding age appropriate toys of approximately the same value for both girls and boys. Taking the numbers for each toy and figuring out which class had the closest number of recipients. Then re-juggling everything when I couldn’t get things to balance for a later class. Sigh…

mrs claus at lybrook

Playing Mrs. Claus at Lybrook School

Finally, everything was sorted, labeled for the specific child to receive each toy, piled precariously into big boxes, and ready to be hauled down the hall to be wrapped. The principal helped me wrap the gifts for the 7th and 8th graders. And the job was finished.

Parties were held on Wednesday afternoon, gifts were distributed, snacks and sweets were eaten, and children were excited by the spirit of Christmas filling the school. Meanwhile, the principal, the turn-around-leader and I sat around a conference table in the office with aching backs, shoes kicked off, and a paper-cut or two from cartons and wrapping paper, talking about Christmas plans and enjoying a short rest. Christmas had come to the students at Lybrook School…