It’s been a tradition in Champaign-Urbana for 22 years, and it’s at the top of many families’ holiday checklists: the Crisis Nursery Holiday Shop, where kids can shop for friends and loved ones, so they can get involved in the holiday giving spirit. The Holiday Shop opens on Saturday, Dec. 6 (see all times below or check our calendar) at Lincoln Square Mall. It’s the ULTIMATE “shop local” experience – all of the proceeds of the event benefit the Crisis Nursery in Urbana.
We asked Heather Wieneke of the Crisis Nursery to give us a preview of this year’s shop experience.
Q: How do you explain the holiday shop “magic” to those who have never been?
Crisis Nursery’s Holiday Shop is the perfect place for children to do their holiday shopping for everyone on their list. All gifts are priced between $2 and $8. Children shop with the help of a community volunteer so their gifts are a surprise for family and friends.When the children are done picking out their gifts, they pay for them and wrap them in festively decorated bags. As they leave the shop, children are always full of pride with the items they have picked out on their own and an understanding that it is just as great to give as it is to receive!
Q: How should parents prepare their child (and themselves) for the Holiday Shop experience?
Parents should have their child’s Holiday Shop shopping list filled out the day they arrive to the Shop, including names of whom to shop for and an overall budget. Also, it’s helpful to prep the child that they’ll be shopping with a volunteer while the parents wait outside. While the children shop, the parents should try to stay as close as possible to the Holiday Shop. Some children are done shopping in 10 minutes, while others take much longer. There will be vendors set up outside the shop so parents can do a little shopping of their own.
Q: What’s new and/or different about this year’s holiday shop?
This year we have the Parkland students-athletes, including Parkland volleyball team, which was the NJCAA national runner-up volunteering at the Holiday Shop on Monday, December 8 from 5:30 to 7 pm. We also have vendors set up outside the Holiday Shop so parents can do a little shopping of their own while their children shop inside the Holiday Shop.
Q: What are the best times to come to the Holiday Shop? All times are great to visit the Holiday Shop!
We are open on Saturdays, Dec. 6 and 13 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday, Dec. 7 12 to 5 pm; Monday–Friday, Dec. 8-12 4 to 7 pm. Typically, the weekdays are slower than the weekends.
Q: Can parents shop with their children?
The Holiday Shop is the perfect place to find stocking stuffers! Parents are encouraged to shop over the lunch hour, from 11am-1pm on Tuesday, December 9 and Wednesday, December 10. Children are encouraged to shop with a volunteer so their gifts are a surprise to family members but if parents aren’t comfortable leaving their children, they can shop with their child.
Q: Where is the best place to park?
The best place to park is just outside Charter Fitness and Common Ground Food Co-op, in the lots directly east of Lincoln Square.
Q: How does the Holiday Shop benefit Crisis Nursery?
This event has grown, becoming a yearly tradition for many families in Champaign-Urbana and our surrounding communities. Last year, nearly 800 children and 400 volunteers enjoyed the Holiday Shop, raising over $33,000! Due in part to the success of this fundraiser, the Nursery has been able to expand its services and assist more children and families in Champaign County.