By Bob Groeneveld/Special to the Langley Advance
No wrap job this Christmas will be too big or too small – or too sloppy – for volunteer wrappers at Willowbrook Shopping Centre.
While it goes against the grain for the elves supporting the Langley School District Foundation (LSDF) to do anything but the finest job possible, one mother wanted “all her presents wrapped really sloppily, so that it wouldn’t look like they came from her,” said head elf – and LSDF executive director – Susan Cairns.
“It was hard for me to convince the wrappers to do it,” said Cairns, “because you want to make them all nice and crisp and professionally done. But she was insistent that we wrap sloppily, so I had to convince them, and they did.”
There have been wrap-jobs that presented challenges on a whole other level, like the year the foundation elves were asked to wrap a “great big painting.”
Cairns estimates that it was about 20 feet by 40 feet. But they accomplished the feat.
“It’s a really fun way to get the spirit of Christmas,” said Cairns, who has – some years – been at the wrapping station all day on Dec. 24, which is always the busiest day.
“I love it,” she said. “And I bring my whole family down. They come and it’s part of our family tradition.”
The whole foundation board will be at the wrapping station, in the mall across from the Willowbrook’s Starbucks, on Dec. 23.
The LSDF has been operating wrapping stations at Willowbrook since 2010. Wrapping “starts at $3 and it goes up to $12, if you want to get a big coat or something like that wrapped,” said Cairns.
“All our paper is eco-friendly, and the ribbons, and the gift cards – everything is,” she elaborated.
A selection of wraps is laid out on the table, and some come in with their own special wrapping paper. A job can be ready in about 10 minutes, “and if it’s really, really busy; just come back in half an hour and it will be done.”
The service is all-inclusive, not just for gifts bought at the mall. “You can bring your gifts in from anywhere to have them wrapped,” Cairns clarified.
They’ll even prepare gifts for mailing: “We’ll wrap it and put it into brown paper so they can just take it down to the post office.
“There’s also a coat check – for more than just coats.
“If you want to leave not only your coat, but all your presents that you’ve had wrapped, and you want to go shop some more,” said Cairns, “we’ll take care of it for you, and that’s only $2.”
All of the money raised – about $18,000 last year – goes to the foundation for its meal programs or its homelessness initiatives – for a whole range of activities.
“It’s for everything that the foundation does to support the Langley School District,” said Cairns.
Volunteers can earmark their take for specific programs for Langley School District students.
“They could be teachers who want to raise money for certain programs, or it could be PACs that want to raise money,” she said.
Those wishing to volunteer for the final rush in the last day or so before Christmas can email firstname.lastname@example.org.