Teresa Ramadan builds pylons as she and other volunteers tape, package and organize gifts at the Everett Boys & Girls Club Christmas House on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Teresa Ramadan builds pylons as she and other volunteers tape, package and organize gifts at the Everett Boys & Girls Club Christmas House on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

After pandemic pause, holiday cheer returns to Christmas House

The Everett nonprofit will give out some 24,000 free gifts to low-income families. It opens Wednesday.

EVERETT — Santa’s workshop is back up and running in north Everett this year.

Elves — er, volunteers — were busy Monday morning transforming the Boys & Girls Club into a jolly holiday store run by nonprofit Christmas House. Starting Wednesday, low-income families can peruse a plethora of free gifts to wrap up for their little ones. It’ll mark 40 years of the cheery tradition.

Funko POP! figurines peered off the shelves, Frog and Toad storybooks clamored to be read aloud and shopping carts were stuffed with hand-made quilts. A towering maze of even more goodies hid behind a row of curtains, ensuring the shop will be fully stocked for the entire three-week operation.

In 2020, the pandemic curbed the traditional Christmas House shop. Instead of parents picking out toys in person, the items were delivered via food banks. Space constraints meant fewer toys got into the hands of local kiddos. And the annual cheer of in-person Christmas House was missed.

“So much work goes into this 12 months out of the year, and to get to that final point and not be able to open — it hit us hard,” said Tish Casavola, who has volunteered with the nonprofit for a decade. “I love engaging with the parents. They’re amazing.”

Volunteer Cathy Swain tapes gifts together at the Everett Boys Girls Club Christmas House on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Volunteer Cathy Swain tapes gifts together at the Everett Boys Girls Club Christmas House on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

This year, the shop will look more or less like a normal year, save for the mandatory masks and limited occupancy. Turnout could be higher than recent years due to the pandemic. Christmas House is prepared to give out about three times as many items as last year.

That includes tyke-sized bikes refurbished by Everett’s Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop, and things like wrapping paper and decor so families can plan for a bright Christmas season.

“I don’t know anywhere in the county where people can get what they’re getting here,” Christmas House President Gregg Milne said. He noted many charity gift programs don’t include kids as old as 18.

Volunteer Jim McFarland organizes gifts at the Everett Boys Girls Club Christmas House on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Volunteer Jim McFarland organizes gifts at the Everett Boys Girls Club Christmas House on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Snohomish County residents with a kid in their custody are eligible if their household income is at or below 150% the federal poverty level. Bring an ID and proof of residency, guardianship and income to the shop, where tickets will be handed out starting at 7 a.m. Kids aren’t allowed inside.

The shop will run Tuesday through Saturday until Dec. 18. A few hundred tickets are given out each day and the shop is regularly restocked so families don’t have to worry about what day to show up.

Some volunteer slots still need to be filled, and donations are still being accepted. Those can be dropped off at the Boys & Girls Club, 2316 12th St., Everett.

Toys are unboxed at the Everett Boys Girls Club Christmas House on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Toys are unboxed at the Everett Boys Girls Club Christmas House on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

And fret not, bad gift-givers: Christmas House has suggestions for how to brighten a local kids’ holiday. Craft kits and remote control cars are on the list for 9- to 12-year-olds. For teens — perhaps the trickiest to shop for — consider makeup sets, telescopes and sports equipment.

Christmas House began in 1981 in a local garage. But the 40-year milestone won’t include much fanfare.

“We’re pretty low-key,” Milne said. “Our mission is the kids.”

Claudia Yaw: 425-339-3449; claudia.yaw@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @yawclaudia.

Want to help?

Learn more about how to volunteer or donate at christmas-house.org/.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A crew member carries plywood to steathe a roof as of the Home Repair Service Program Friday morning in Brier, Washington on January 14, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Habitat for Humanity program helps Brier homeowners stay put

The nonprofit’s Home Repair Service program gave a senior couple a new roof — and hope.

Index School (Index School District)
Voters to decide fate of critical school funding measures

Levies to pay for staff and programs are on the Feb. 8 ballot in districts across Snohomish County.

School leaders in districts like Everett and Marysville have warned of a looming transition to online learning. This 2019 photo shows an empty cafeteria at North Middle School. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Staff shortages prompt some schools to resume remote learning

The surging omicron variant has left many Snohomish County classrooms bare of both staff and students.

Christian Sayre
Everett bar owner arrested again on new sexual assault charges

Christian Sayre, longtime owner of The Anchor Pub, was charged Friday with 10 counts of felony sex offenses.

A mail carrier delivers mail along Dubuque Road in Snohomish on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mail delays frustrate and perplex Snohomish residents

One woman waited two weeks for delivery. Then came “an avalanche of mail.” The Postal Service blames snow and staffing issues.

Sam Dawson administers a collection swab herself Thursday afternoon at the walk-up COVID testing center on Wetmore Ave in Everett, Washington on January 13, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sketchy firm’s COVID-test sites shut down as questions mount

The Center for COVID Control will close an Everett site and others around the U.S. as officials take a closer look.

David Dodge (Washington State Department of Corrections)
Man who killed Stanwood girl gets another chance at release

A state Supreme Court ruling could affect other incarcerated people who committed crimes as juveniles.

Marysville Pilchuck student Gianna Frank and Marysville firefighters bag puzzles and snacks in Marysville, Washington on January 17, 2022. (Isabella Breda / The Herald)
In Marysville, care packages filled in an MLK act of service

Some bags will go to seniors, some to survivors of domestic violence and some to those living with housing insecurity.

The area subject to the tsunami advisory Saturday includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, Whidbey Island and Camano Island. People along other coastal areas of Puget Sound are advised to stay away from the water. (U.S. Tsunami Warning System) 20220115
Tsunami advisory for nearby waters lifted after 12 hours

Officials in Snohomish County encouraged people to stay away from the shoreline during much of Saturday.

Most Read