Several members of our local Disaster Animal Response Team look forward to Christmas just like little kids – but for a very different reason!  One of our favorite fundraisers comes around during the holidays – wrapping presents for donations at some of the local stores. It’s become one of our traditions, and as soon as there’s a little bit of a nip in the air, sure enough one of our members will ask, “So, where are we wrapping this year?”

Several of the big chain bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Books a Million invite local nonprofit and charitable organizations to sign up on their schedule and wrap purchases their customers have just bought, on a donation-only basis. The store provides a table near the checkout counter, plus scissors, tape, and even the store’s own customized wrapping paper. We’ve also wrapped at Bass Pro Shop, which carries a variety of outdoors-theme wrapping paper which people really love. But we also go a few steps further – some would say we go overboard – and bring bows, other holiday paper, curling ribbon, gift tags, jingle bells, and lots of shiny bling to dress up the packages. The bling is usually Mardi Gras beads or cut-up Christmas tree garlands; but it makes the packages look fantastic! We even have tiny stuffed dogs, cats, and horses that we tie on to the rest of the bling, and the customers love it!  The customers get a kick out of picking out the paper they want to use, and they show their appreciation by putting a wonderful tip in the jar! We’ve never made less than $100 a day, and the busy days right before Christmas have often brought us $300 or more in a day. Other groups report they don’t earn as much in donations as we do, but then they don’t typically bring as much bows & bling as we do. Which goes to show it sometimes pays to go overboard.