Milton Hershey School Celebrates the Holidays with Milton’s Christmas Workshop
At Milton Hershey School, the holiday season is a magical time for staff and students. The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with beloved traditions—like Milton’s Christmas Workshop. With the help of MHS and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts staff, children pick out gifts for special people in their lives.
The annual event allows Elementary and Middle Division students to appreciate the magic of gift-giving. It relates directly to the MHS Sacred Value of showing Mutual Respect for others.
When the tradition began in 2005, MHS employees noticed that students in public schools often have shopping events where students could purchase gifts for loved ones. MHS did not have such an event, so staff stepped up.
“It really gets the students excited for the holiday season and gives them the opportunity to experience the joy of giving,” said Aliena Reed, Human Resources Information Systems Analyst, and head of the workshop planning committee. “I think that sometimes the holidays can be tough, but they can get excited about spreading cheer and giving back to the people who are important parts of their lives.”
As part of this annual activity, students chose three special people in their life to shop for in this store-like experience. With their list in hand, students arrived at Founders Hall in early December with their student home, many wearing Santa hats or other Christmas attire.
Several tables were set up on each side of the 30-foot Christmas tree in the Founders Hall Rotunda. As festive music filled the air, the young shoppers examined each item available, including toys, pillows, blankets, signs, and candy dishes.
Students are able to choose from a variety of items that are supplied by The Family Gratitude Foundation in Honor of Gertrude Gurt. Gifts include small items appropriate for any member of the family, including this year’s most popular item, blankets, and the addition of pet and baby items.
The workshop is successful each year thanks to the many volunteers on the planning committee who plan and shop for this event, along with staff who participate in the event by helping students select their gifts and restock tables.
Many of the MHS and HE&R staff who volunteered commented that the event helps them embrace the holiday spirit.