Story by Maya Butler | Reporter, Video by Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter
Armed with scissors and rolls of tape, student volunteers gathered to wrap presents for kids from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday at the Bill Daniel Student Center for Santa’s Workshop as an event put on by the Office of Community Engagement and Service.
The annual Santa’s Workshop will start at 9 a.m. Friday at the McLane Student Life Center where kids will celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with Santa himself.
Santa’s Workshop invites hundreds of kids involved in Head Start, a program designed to prepare children between the ages of 3-5 from low-income families for school by promoting education and health.
Volunteers at the event will have plenty of presents to hand out at Santa’s Workshop as a result of the efforts of Baylor students.
Fort Worth junior Daniel Amado said he heard about the wrapping party this year and decided to volunteer.
“We don’t necessarily have money to give, but being able to give our time so that someone else can have something special on Christmas is pretty awesome,” Amado said.
Marietta, Ga., junior Kerlin Anderson, decorations chair for Santa’s Workshop, offered a similar response.
“I think it’s the little things like wrapping a present that’s the most important to kind of make this day special for them,” Anderson said.
Santa’s Workshop will transform the basketball courts inside the SLC into a winter wonderland, complete with snowflakes, Christmas lights, Santa’s sleigh and miniature trees decorated with festive ornaments.
Children will be able to participate in various activities such as coloring, taking pictures with Santa and writing letters to him. Each child will receive a gift bag of donated dental kits and three brand-new books.
Miller said the donated books added an educational component to this year’s Christmas event.
“I just felt like it was important to give it [Santa’s Workshop] a little bit more purpose,” Miller said. “That way, we could not just have a of fun but also have something that’s going to be more meaningful for the kids.”
Presents, of course, will also be spotted at Santa’s Workshop.
Amado discussed the strategy behind wrapping presents.
“Take your time with it and [do] not be a perfectionist,” Amado said. “[If the] paper gets wrinkled or if your corners aren’t super neat — it’s the thought that counts.”
The wrapping party has continued to be a part of the Christmas tradition at Baylor for over 20 years, thanks to local community involvement.
Atlanta junior Summer Miller, director of the planning committee for Santa’s Workshop, explained the benefits of hosting the wrapping party on campus.
“The Baylor community is just so giving — there’s always an abundance of volunteers,” Miller said. “We wanted about 20, and here we have 50. That’s just a perfect example of how Baylor students are always ready to get involved and help us out.”
While Christmas itself is still a few weeks away, kids from the Waco area will get to experience the joys of the holiday season early during Santa’s Workshop.
“I really love watching all of the kids walk into the workshop the very first morning,” Miller said. “Being able to have a day away from school to get to see Santa … it’s a really great magical experience for a lot of them.”