Parents are lined up, patiently waiting in the crowded corridor. They’re forbidden to enter the Kids Mall held Nov. 23 in Gold Beach, while their children choose gifts for family and friends. The cost: just 25 cents per gift.
This year, 234 kids went shopping, with the help of 42 festive volunteers who assisted them — from helping the kids find the right presents for the people on their lists, to taking the payments and, finally, gift wrapping all of the items.
Only kids and volunteers wearing Christmas aprons were allowed to enter the store, which was packed with new and like-new items, from flashlights, fishing tackle, tools, baseball caps, barbecue accessories and water bottles for dads and grandpas, to toys, games, puzzles and ‘tween and teen gifts for siblings, to jewelry, dishes, aprons, scarves, soaps, purses and kitchen utensils for moms and grandmas.
Anthony Boydston has a long shopping list today. “I’m shopping for my mom, my dad, my grandpa, grandma, sister, other sister, my brother and my older sister,” he said.
Meanwhile, his younger sister, Zoey Boydston, paused at the jewelry rack and selected a gift that she placed in her shopping bag. “I got a pretty bracelet for my brother’s girlfriend,” she said. “I really like her.”
The idea for the annual Kids Mall took off 14 years ago, when a woman from the local Episcopal church saw the idea in Connecticut and brought the tradition back to Gold Beach, said Sandy Grummon, one of the event’s organizers.
“It’s different from other gift giveaways, because they pay for their gifts,” Grummon said, “just like they would pay for something at the shopping mall. They pay for it themselves, without mom or dad helping them choose the gifts. The kids take it very seriously, sometimes taking a very long time to decide.”
The Kids Mall is described by organizers as “an affordable holiday shopping experience for the children of Gold Beach, ages 5 to 14, some of whom might not otherwise be able to purchase holiday presents for family members.”
The 2,000-plus items in the store all have been donated, starting back in October with a community gift drive.
Cash donations are used to purchase items still needed after all of the donations have been organized. So, donations of gift bags come in handy, because every gift is wrapped for the kids.
The popular event is held every year in conjunction with the Community Holiday Bazaar at the Curry County Event Center.