Christmas House wants every child in the county to have gifts
SNOHOMISH — An estimated 7,000 children in Snohomish County will benefit from the local charity Christmas House this year.
From bicycles to electronics and winter clothing, qualifying low-income households can come shop for gifts for each of their children, from infant to 18 years old, starting Dec. 1.
The Christmas House “store” is located inside the Everett Boys and Girls Club, 2316 12th St. in north Everett. It is run entirely by community volunteers. Over Thanksgiving weekend, volunteers worked to set up the store inside the gym, getting it ready to receive shoppers for opening day.
Parents and guardians can line up to select gifts during the week, Tuesday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. On Saturdays, it is open 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. through Dec. 17. Each day of operation, shoppers will receive a ticket with instructions and a same-day return time. The busiest day is usually the first day of operation.
No children are allowed inside, not even infants, and no child care is available. The reason kids can’t enter is to allow parents to hand-select the gifts.
Gregg Milne, Christmas House’s president, said shoppers need not worry about what day they choose to come. The volunteers work hard to ensure the same variety of gifts is available each day the store is open. Qualifying families can choose five gifts for each child in their household. In addition, each child will receive a new pair of winter gloves, a hat or a scarf. Families may also choose to take one family Christmas item, such as Christmas lights, ornaments, wrapping paper or other decorations.
“We do our best to offer gifts that parents would want to give [their children] during these tough times,” Milne said. Milne said the biggest challenge for Christmas House remains in providing desirable gifts for adolescent boys. He noted that small electronics are the most difficult gifts to acquire due to the higher price.
Qualifying families must live in Snohomish County, with an income 150 percent below the federal poverty line. You must bring your photo ID, proof of spouse or live-in partner if any, proof of income and proof of custody of the child you’re shopping for (a birth certificate is one way).
For a family of three, 150 percent would mean a maximum annual household income of $34,545, which is $664.33 a week or less.
Christmas House started in 1981 by Roy Fraser in his garage. He gathered gently used toys and handmade items, donating to 100 children in the first year. Fraser passed away before he would see the second year of his charity. Since then, the nonprofit has shifted to offering new toys and refurbished bikes. Bike donations for Christmas House go through the non-profit Sharing Wheels.
Christmas House has added a new virtual option for donations. Donors now have access to wholesale prices on bulk purchases through HDI Wholesale, which will send purchased items to the nonprofit directly.
There are several locations around Snohomish County where the public can drop off donations of new toys. These include all Everett Fire Department stations, all Les Schwab and REMAX/Elite locations in Snohomish County, Lamoureux Real Estate, 1904 Wetmore Ave., Everett, IRG Physical Therapy at 1332 Colby Ave. and the Everett Mall Toy Chest, 1402 SE Everett Mall Way, Everett.
For full details on how to apply to shop, donate, or volunteer for Christmas House, go to https://christmas-house.org/.
Additionally, on Dec. 9, the Everett Silvertips hockey team are having a “Teddy Bear Toss” for their match with the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Silvertips will send about half of the stuffed bears to Christmas House.
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