Volunteers at Deep Well Santa’s Shop assist clients in choosing gifts for their children. COURTESY DEEP WELL

Like everything else this holiday season, Santa’s Shop at Deep Well will get a few new twinkles this year.

Parents will be personally visiting the shop to select their children’s’ gifts. Appointments are required, and only those registered with Deep Well can shop.

In the past, the Santa Shop has served anywhere from 500 to 900 children per year over the past five years.

“We are working hard to spread the word, get folks registered with appointments and to assure that Santa provides gifts for all our Deep Well children,” said Sandy Gillis, Deep Well’s executive director. 

Another change: Deep Well will not be placing toy collection bins around the island this year. Donors who wish to purchase or collect gifts are asked to review the Santa Shop Wish List that has been posted to Deep Well’s website, deepwellproject.org.

All gift items should be dropped off at Deep Well, 80 Capital Drive, before Dec. 10.

Toys and gifts should be appropriate for ages 1 to 12. Highlights of the Wish List include:

• Books for all ages

• Stuffed animals – every child receives one

• Batteries to power toys – mostly AAs

• Board games: Favorites include Pictionary, Memory, Monopoly, Sequence, Spoons, What’s That Smell?, Twister, 5 Crowns, Operation, Brain Fart Game, Light up, Air Hover Soccer Game

• Sports equipment: Scooters, skateboards, baseball mitts/balls, soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs, fishing poles, tennis racquets/balls

Detailed lists of preferred gifts are available on the website. Fewer high-quality gifts that can be enjoyed for months and years are suggested.

Of course, monetary donations are always welcome, and the Deep Well elves love to shop!   

Parents or guardians must be registered at The Deep Well Project in order to visit the Santa Shop for their children. The standard Deep Well qualification requirements will be followed. 

The program is open to Hilton Head Island residents only and is for low-income families experiencing hardship.

The Santa Shop will be open by appointment during the week of Dec. 14-18 for parents to pick out toys for their children. Some items will be pre-packed based on age and gender to streamline Santa shopping, but the special, bigger items will be selected by the parents.

All toys, games and clothing in the Santa Shop are new. For some children, these may be the only new toys or articles of clothing they’ve ever received.

Deep Well clients need to register their children and make an appointment to visit the Santa Shop by calling Deep Well, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Dec. 10. For more information, visit deepwellproject.org or call 843-785-2849.

Karen Cerrati is a veteran freelance writer on Hilton Head Island.