1. What is the GRACE Christmas Cottage?
The Christmas Cottage is a program that provides families with Christmas gifts for their family at no cost to them. What makes our program unique is that we allow our clients to make their own selections of gifts for their family. Each family is given a budget based on their family size. They "shop" in the cottage among age appropriate items that are given a dollar value that is approximate to Walmart. This way, they not only get to choose the gifts that they know their children will like, but they are learning to budget and understand the value of what they are being given. It really helps the parents maintain a sense of diginity since they are able to maintain a level of privacy.
Click here to download a Christmas Cottage information packet.
2. How many volunteers does it take to operate the Cottage?
Including the volunteers who decorate the space, those who work while the cottage is open and those who help take everything down and pack up, it takes more than 450 volunteers!
3. Do you still need volunteers?
We could still use several bilingual volunteers to help our Spanish speaking shoppers.
4. The minimum age for a volunteer is 16 if they are accompanied by an adult, is there any way for younger kids to get involved?
Absolutely! We encourage families with younger kids to helps us by baking cookies that provide daily to our client families and volunteers. They can bake a couple dozen or so cookies and drop them by the cottage any day between December 10th and 22nd (excluding Sundays).
5. How many people does the Christmas Cottage help?
This year we expect to provide gifts for more than 1,500 individuals. So, you can see...we're going to need a lot of cookies!
6. How soon can people begin bringing donations?
We're taking donations right now! In fact, one of the biggest problems we have is that we typically run low on donations for the first couple of days when we open because individuals, groups and businesses tend to wait until their drive is complete before bringing them to us. We'd like to encourage as many people as possible to bring their donations to the Christmas Cottage before Dec. 10th, that way we're sure to have plenty of presents when we get underway!
7. Should gifts be wrapped or unwrapped?
Great question! All donations must be unwrapped, that way we know what the items are and can place them in the age and gender appropriate section. That also reminds me, each family that shops with us is given all of the wrapping paper, tape and bows that they will need to wrap their own gifts, so we also need lots of those things donated as well!
8. Are there certain types of gifts that you usually run low on?
Yes, gifts for teens are usually in shortest supply. Great teen gifts are gift cards ($10, $15 & $20 denominations), movie tickets, DVD's and CD's to name a few. We also run low on our family gifts which are things like small appliances, towel sets, dish sets and things like that. Each family gets to select on "family gift". Click here for a full list of recommended gifts.
9. How can local businesses get involved?
We encourage local businesses to host toy drives or we can supply them with bell ornaments that list gift needs. That way, their employees can select an ornament or two and simply purchase the items listed on them.
10. What if I'm really busy, but would still like to help?
For those folks, Walmart at 1601 West Hwy 114 in Grapevine has made it very easy for them. Starting in a few weeks, all they have to do is select bells from the trees there at the front of the store and then purchase the items listed. Then when they check out, they can let the cashier know which items are for the GRACE Christmas Cottage and they can leave them right at the store to be picked up by one of our wonderful volunteers!
The GRACE Christmas Cottage is a wonderful program that is a reflection of this community's spirit of giving! If you would like more information about donations, volunteering or gift bells, please contact GRACE Seasonal Programs Manager Lori Stevens at email@example.com.