The sewing room at Rose Hill Senior Center buzzed with activity as volunteer seamstresses worked.
Mattie Ayers sewed the brim of a hat as Rose Taylor put together purses. Amber Horath was working on embroidered items.
“It gets much busier, it surely does, but I enjoy doing it because I like to do odd work,” Taylor said. “Sewing is one of my favorites.”
All year, the adults at Rose Hill Senior Center have been busy making quilts, pillows, hats, purses, dresses and wooden toys. And for the 24th year, children will get a chance to shop from the handmade gifts for Christmas gifts for a parent, grandparent, friend or even a teacher.
The My Little Christmas Shoppe has become a tradition for shoppers and something the adult “elves” look forward to each year.
“It’s unbelievable how much fun it is to see the children take the actual things that you’re making,” said Debbie Reed, the director at Rose Hill. “Kids appreciate handmade gifts. We’re going on our 24th year now and, year after year, I have seen these kids come in and they just absolutely go gaga ... When they know the seniors have made it, it just becomes so special in their eyes.”
On Dec. 6, children ages 4 to 10 will be able to shop, escorted by volunteers from the Dothan Fire Department so they’re selections can remain secret. Gifts in the kids’ room are priced from $1 to $10 and gift wrapping is free. While the kids shop, adults can check out the adult craft room where pricier, yet still reasonably priced, items will be for sale.
The kids’ room usually features handmade trinkets, wooden toys, pot holders, door snakes, pin cushions and other items children can purchase and have wrapped. The adult craft room will have handmade quilts and other items adults can purchase.
Amber Horath has been sewing for years, but this is her first season working with the My Little Christmas Shoppe. Horath’s embroidery and sewing skills led to some new items this year – Bible bags embroidered with Bible verses and cute little girl dresses you might find in a small boutique.
“I’m a creative person,” Horath said. “I like to use my ideas, and nobody put a strain on me and said, ‘Here, do this.’ They said, ‘Just do what you want.’ So, there I went.”
Mattie Ayers began visiting Rose Hill nearly two years ago because she had an interest in quilting.
“After I got in here, they decided I was worthy of a machine,” Ayers said. “So I’m just learning, really, to sew on a machine. But I enjoy it, though.”
Down the hall in the wood shop, Patrick Rice has helped construct wooden toys, airplanes, cars, trucks and board games. Rice even invented a tabletop basketball game that incorporates a plastic spoon to throw a wooden ball through a hoop.
Rice has a wood shop at home, but enjoys coming to Rose Hill.
“I just enjoy the other people I meet here,” he said.
Money raised through My Little Christmas Shoppe goes back to Rose Hill. Reed said the annual event doesn’t net a lot of money, but it is enough to cover costs.
“It’s more of a chance for the seniors to feel like they’re learning new skills and having great socializing time,” Reed said.
If you go …
What: Rose Hill’s My Little Christmas Shoppe
When: Thursday, Dec. 6, from 3-7 p.m.; additional hours on Friday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Rose Hill Senior Center, 401 S. Appletree St., Dothan
Info: Call 334-615-3740