Herkimer 7th graders create handmade gifts for Secret Santa exchange

Herkimer Central School District seventh graders celebrated the 2023 holiday season with a Secret Santa exchange that had a special twist to it: All gifts were handmade.

Using materials costing $10 or less per present, students created gifts including a penguin ornament, a candy cane cloth wreath, a paper flower bouquet, a snowman jar filled with candy, bracelets, gingerbread cookies, a hand-sewn fabric football and more.

“It was a fun way to celebrate the holiday season, and all students were pleased and impressed with their Secret Santa’s creative handmade gift,” Herkimer Middle School Principal Maria Lindsay said.

Herkimer seventh grade class officers Gwen McCutcheon, Mitchell Meszler, Aldin Covic and Chase Benedict helped organize the project along with the seventh grade class advisors, teachers Jennifer Bailey and Joshua Schneider. Chase suggested the idea during a November meeting of the seventh grade class.

The class officers and advisors determined the guidelines for the exchange. A brief meeting was held after school to prove there was committed interest in the exchange and to select the names for the Secret Santas. Patterns for writing anonymous clues to slowly reveal their identities were given out as well.

Seventh grade class officers delivered the Secret Santa notes throughout the last week of school before the winter recess for the holidays. On the final day before break, all seventh graders had lunch with Mrs. Bailey and Mr. Schneider to receive their gifts and guess their Secret Santas.

After a Secret Santa idea was discussed last school year, students were happy to be able to follow through on it this time.

“This year, it happened, and we are really proud,” Chase said.


Seventh graders with Secret Santa gifts

Herkimer Central School District seventh graders pose with their gifts following a Secret Santa exchange. All gifts were handmade by the students.



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