By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Public Affairs December 4, 2012
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- While Santa's elves buzzed around his workshop making Christmas presents at the North Pole, the children of U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr were busy working, too. Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Heart and Home Craft Shop hosted Santa's Secret Workshop, here, Dec. 1, as creative boys and girls crafted gifts for mom and dad.
Cassandra Rowson's focus was unmatched as she decorated a jewelry box she intends to give to her mother.
"She has a lot of jewelry to put in it, so I think she'll really like it," said the 9-year-old.
Homemade gifts are a tradition for Rowson. She usually makes Christmas cards for her parents, but stepped up her game this year with the help of the craft shop, creating homemade useable presents for both of her parents.
More than 60 children, ages 6-14, followed suit flooding the workshop with hand-painted ceramics, colorful wreaths, gleaming sun catchers and bedazzled baseball caps. While the young artists came and went throughout the day, creativity never faltered.
Aura Quinong, 6, decorated a white tie with colorful gems for her dad; 6-year-old Samantha Fago camouflaged a lustrous gift for her mother in glitter; and 6-year-old Audrey Wilson layered paint over a ceramic house - a colorful tchotchke for her mother.
Jordan Wilson, 8, thought her gift - a mirror adorned with shells and feathers creating a beach theme - was extra special.
"It's by me, no one else," said Wilson. "It makes it better than any other gift."
The workshop was a way to engage the children of the community and give back to families that sacrifice throughout the year, according to Barbara Donahue, manager of the craft shop.
"And it's a nice surprise for the parents," said Donahue, adding that many of the gifts are sent downrange, free of charge, to deployed moms and dads.
Come Christmas morning, whether moms and dads are snuggled up in the cold Bavarian winter, or downrange far away from family celebrations, the spirit of togetherness and holiday cheer will be wrapped in a one-of-a-kind gift from a one-of-a-kind artist.
"It'll be a good Christmas," said Wilson, looking up briefly from her art project to flash a smile. "I'm working hard for it."