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Students do their own holiday shopping at Tanglewood Elementary

SOUTH FORT MYERS

It can be hard to make a holiday shopping list and stick to it, but some Southwest Florida schools are helping students and parents keep within their holiday budgets.

Every year, the multi-purpose room at Tanglewood Elementary School, located at 1620 Manchester Blvd., transforms into “the holiday house,” a small store where students can shop for gifts for themselves, their parents, and their friends. Everything there is under $10.

Parent and volunteer Amy Burke help other students choose the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

“You have the kindergarteners right up to 5th grade, and some kids know exactly what they want to get their parents, and others don’t have an idea, so I kind of give them ideas on ‘You can get this,’ or, ‘You can get that,’ if they want help,” Burke said.

On Wednesday, Burke got to shop with her own daughter, Annabelle.

“She did a lot better than I thought she would,” Burke said. “I mean, she knew what she wanted to get, and it was pretty easy.”

The kids love it. Tanglewood PTA President Erin Sleppin says it’s because the store is affordable and brings a little bit of brightness to students’ days by letting them pick out what they want themselves.

“I’ve had many parents say they would rather come here and have them shop than take them to another store and go to multiple stores,” Sleppin said. “Some kids raid their whole piggy banks and come in here, and $2 can go a long way when you’re on a budget. They feel proud that they did it themselves, so it gives them something to look forward to.”

It teaches kids the value of money and budgeting, plus it keeps a couple of pennies in their parents’ pockets.

Your child has to be a Tanglewood Elementary School student in order to participate in the holiday house. It ends Thursday at 1 p.m., but other schools in the district also have holiday houses.

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