Kids can shop for the people on their holiday list this year at Santa Express

Santa Express is celebrating 25 years of providing a special holiday experience for children who give back. This year, your kids can participate at a brand new location.

You might recognize it, too. The new location is located downtown at 221 North Wall, inside the OCH building. It’s the former Runner’s Sole shop, across from the old Olive Garden.

Just like when it was at River Park Square, parents can shop for hostess gifts and decorations in the front of the store, while kids get paired with an “elf” to shop for items for people on their lists. Before kids start shopping, parents meet with their child’s elf partner to list the names and ages of those the child will shop for. Parents can also set a budget during this time.

The experience teaches kids about giving, how to set a budget and how to help those who are in need in our community.

“I think for small children especially, it’s a very easy conversation to have. We go to this special store to shop for gifts because this special store helps kids at Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery,” said Santa Express’ Hayley Lydig.

Lydig helps to run the annual fundraiser. She shopped there as a child herself and even volunteered as a teen and adult before taking her current role.

All proceeds go to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, that provides a safe place for local children in need. Last year, the five weeks of shopping at Santa Express raised $100,000 for the organization.

You can shop Santa Express through December 23. For information on hours, click here.

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