“Whoa, a lot of stuff!” said one young child. The VFW National Home for Children’s Community Center auditorium was filled with tables, and those tables were covered with all sorts of presents the children could choose for their parents, brothers and sisters, and other relatives. Santa’s workshop had been magically transferred from the North Pole to the National Home Santa Shop! Indeed, to a small preschooler, the National Home’s Santa Shop could be a bit overwhelming. The Santa Shop is a store that the children and young people can shop for Christmas gifts and experience the joy of giving. The young people spend the community service hours they have earned throughout the year on the presents. Community Service projects include volunteering at the local Humane Society, helping out at a local assisted living facility, and create and sending Christmas and other greeting cards to veterans. Each new item was donated and any overflow of gifts is also available for birthdays and other special events. The preschoolers came up two or three at a time, each assisted by a staff person. The older children and teenagers were scheduled to do their shopping in the afternoon. Over at a one table, a staff person was helping a little girl. “Come over her for a minute,” she said, showing the girl a book. The two moved on to the jewelry. The little girl held up a necklace sparkling with light pink beads, and then decided to go with a glittery makeup kit. Then she saw a purse. “Oh look at this!” she said, entranced by the multi-color sparkles. Next she spotted the green sparkly purse. It was a tough decision, but she stuck with her original choices. The children finished choosing their gifts, and went to the gym to run and play and burn off some of the energy from shopping, filled with pride of having purchased Christmas gifts for their families all on their own. To see more pictures of our youngest children taking part in Santa Shop, please go to our Flickr.