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Holiday shopping events spark Christmas spirit
Holiday shopping events pic
Family members of Farm House owner Candace Gonsalves pose with Santa Claus during last years Pictures with Santa and Toy Drive event. - photo by Photo Contributed

Following the success of Small Business Saturday, stores around town are giving shoppers even more incentive to shop local this Christmas with several holiday shopping events that not only support local organizations, but also provide a simple and nearby solution for purchasing gifts.

The Turlock Nursery School relies solely on self-generated funds, and to raise money for its day-to-day operations, such as arts, crafts and hands-on projects, the school is hosting a multi-vendor shopping event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 13. The Christmas Shopping Boutique fundraiser will feature vendors such as LuLaRoe clothing, Usborne Books and Rodan + Fields, as well as local artisans such as Hip Hip Dye Ray, who sells tie dye clothing.

“All but one or two of the vendors either have children or have had children go to our school,” said nursery school Vice President Francine Simbalenko. “A lot of them are home-based businesses, so this gives people a chance to see what else people are doing on the side.”

Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served at the event, which will take place at the Turlock Nursery School, 415 Grant Ave. Each vendor will also be raffling off a prize.

“We really thought it would be a great way to bring parents and kids that used to go here back together,” said Simbalenko. “It also gives the community a chance to find out what kind of preschool we are.”

Shop Joy Dravecky is hoping to make Christmas shopping less of a pain for Turlock residents through a variety of holiday shopping events. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 14 and 21, the boutique is hosting Wine and Wish list Wednesday, where shoppers can come into the store, sip on a drink and create their own gift wish list. The boutique then emails the list to the shopper’s “Santa.”

From 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 22, Shop Joy Dravecky will stay open late for Holiday Shopping Night — a night dedicated to gift searching or purchasing, with wish lists from the boutique’s shoppers displayed throughout the store.

“It’s a good time for them to come in, have some snacks and finish up their holiday wish list,” said Brenna Sill of Shop Joy Dravecky.

Finally, 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 23 will be devoted to the men at the boutique, with Guys Night giving them the opportunity to pick out gifts for their wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers or any of the women in their life — all with the help of the stylish employees of Shop Joy Dravecky.

“We’ve found that with a lot of the men, the easier we can make it for them to shop, the happier they are,” said Sill.

Beer will be provided at Guys Night, and the men can take a peek at their ladies’ wish lists as they shop. Shop Joy Dravecky is located at 116 N. Center Street.

Joining in on the holiday fun is The Greenery Nursery, who will also be keeping their doors open later than usual to help community members get their shopping done.

“We know there are a lot of people who work and can’t get in during the day,” said Marketing Manager Adria Afferino. “We’re staying open late so that they can make it in.”

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, The Greenery Garden Shop will be open late to provide shoppers with unique and festive gifts, including mantel décor, custom gift baskets and food from the Gourmet Pantry.

Shoppers will be able to sample food from the pantry as well, and reusable shopping bags will be available for free. The Greenery Nursery is located at 742 E. Olive Ave.

Farm House is dedicating a night of business to a worthy cause with the second annual Pictures with Santa and Toy Drive event. The shop, along with help from local photographer Stephanie Baker, will be offering pictures with Santa for a suggested donation of $25. Attendees are also encouraged to bring a toy, and both the donated money and gift will benefit Westside Ministries.

“Westside Ministries is such an important organization in our community, so I thought, ‘Why not do something to give back to them?’” said Candace Gonsalves of Farm House. “We started off by everyone supporting us, so I always want to give back and teach my kids to give back as much as they can.”

The event began last year as a way for Gonsalves to celebrate her son’s first birthday, which is six days before Christmas. Treats, like cupcakes and cookies, will be provided, and shoppers can browse Farm House’s variety of gifts.

“Last year was great, and since it’s the second year, we’re expecting it to be even bigger,” said Caley Rutherford of Farm House. “Last year we got a ton of toys, but we’re really pushing for monetary donations this year.”

Pictures with Santa will take place from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, and all pictures are on a first-come, first-serve basis until the end of the event. Farm House is located at 311 E. Main Street.

“These organizations do such great things for our local community, and we should all be caring and try to take care of one another,” said Gonsalves.