There’s a new store in town for parents searching for The Perfect Gift for their kids this Christmas. Located on the Main Street of Lac La Biche, this exclusive pop-up shop is open by appointment only to families needing to get away from traditional limits on the wallet.
“There’s so much going on in the world today. And a lot of people need help. And it’s a way to show hope in our community, and also not just as a church, but to get the whole community involved as much as possible,” said Sonia Vien, who is helping New Life Victory Church to manage the shop and doing some of the gift wrapping.
In order to keep things fair while also removing sticker shock at the value of the gifts, The Perfect Gift runs on a star system.
“Every parent has five stars for each child. So the more expensive gifts have more of a star value kind of thing. Then they pick out five stars for each kid, so kids will end up with sometimes two, three gifts,” said Vien.
According to Vien, the gifts, which include a variety of toys for all ages, were donated by local businesses and area residents.
“As well as Santa’s Anonymous in Edmonton. They had a lot of extra toys last year and they contacted us and donated a bunch of toys as well,” said Vien.
She said they also have candy bags, stocking stuffers, and stuffed animals for each child as well as a small gift for the parents.
“We find it just it brings back a bit of dignity to families that just struggle, right? It’s never easy to admit you need help. And this is a nice private way of doing it because they get the space to themselves,” said Vien.
Inside the store has been decorated like a winter wonderland. According to Vien, a lot of their clients are initially overwhelmed when they come in.
“They don’t expect it to be so warm and inviting. It kind of takes you back to your childhood when you walk in. And that’s our plan, not to make it feel like a normal store, but something kind of magical for them.”
In 2019, she said they were able to provide gifts for approximately 240 children. The group hopes to double that number in 2020 and expand to include gifts for parents as well in 2021.
“But we need more registrations, more people to help,” said Vien.
The original deadline for registrations was Nov. 30, but that’s now been extended to Dec. 7. Registration is done online, or over the phone with Vien at 780-623-7600.
There are drop boxes for gifts located in a number of Lac La Biche businesses including Fields, Value Drug Mart, From Scratch Café, IGA, Smiley’s, and Omar’s Barber Shop.