One student played Secret Santa to 215 Whittier staff
Before the Whittier staff left for the holiday break at the end of December, they each found a sweet-filled, elaborately wrapped gift in their mailboxes. The hand-crafted bags held chocolates, hot cocoa mix, a packet of marshmallows, a candy cane and a snowman poem. Where did they come from? A small handwritten card attached said, “Happy Holidays” and was signed by a student. Our Secret Santa wishes to remain anonymous to all but the staff.
For nearly two months, this junior spent her free time putting the gifts together -- folding, cutting and gluing embossed sheets of paper, attaching stickers, and wrapping candies. As her teacher gift-giving tradition continued to expand, her mom and sometimes her dad pitched in, too. Together they made and delivered about 215 gift packages to staff mailboxes the day before holiday break. She made sure that all staff, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers and maintenance personnel, received a gift.
“‘It makes everybody really happy and I feel good to do something nice for people,” she said. “It’s a really great feeling when you can do something for people you don’t even know.”
She began giving holiday gifts to a few of her teachers when she was in middle school. During her freshman year, she and her mom baked cookies for teachers and brought them in before a staff holiday party. Last year, she and her parents were ill during the holidays so they did not create gifts. “This year, I wanted to do more,” she said. “Something cute and fun, and I thought, ‘Why not include everyone?’”
She and her mom attended craft fairs and watched Youtube videos to get ideas. “We figured this would be a nice winter treat that you can enjoy during a cold day or during a storm or while curling up with a good book. It would be something everyone can enjoy,” she said. Teachers who know her thanked her personally and others sent notes. “One teacher actually sent a note to my house,” she said. “I thought, oh my gosh, a teacher actually took the time to send me a card.”