Seventh annual library workshop encourages “elves” to craft Christmas surprises

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WATERTOWN — Local children got crafty Sunday at Flower Memorial Library’s seventh annual Elf Workshop.

Each year, the workshop attracts families with the chance for kids to create Christmas ornaments from scratch to then wrap and give as gifts — for free with all art supplies and plenty of shiny wrapping paper provided.

Reference librarian Amanda Presley has worked at the library for 10 years.

“It’s been a popular event from the beginning,” Ms. Presley said of the slowly receding crowds.

“This year, we started 20 minutes early because people were already here, ready and lined up.”

According to Ms. Presley, there’s value in having a space where kids can make homemade gifts for their parents or other loved ones.

“We always want to encourage kids to use their imaginations and be creative — and everyone loves the holiday element.”

Parents and family members can help their kids craft, or, to keep the gifts a surprise, wait nearby as library volunteers assist.

Patty and David Johnson are always eager to bring their grandkids Lucy, 7, and Leo, 1, to library events.

“I’ve been a member and coming to events here since I became a grandmother (eight years ago.) It’s awesome, they do such a good job (at the library),” Mrs. Johnson said.

Lucy took a break from handcrafting two Christmas ornaments, a snowman and a penguin, to share a snack with her brother.

“They’re big readers, they both love books,” said Mrs. Johnson, who believes kids getting to the library and having a positive association with books is “very important.”

Ms. Presley explained another benefit of the Elf Workshop is that children always have a good time, but “it’s just as much about the parents as the kids.”

“It’s a good chance to connect with parents about all the (youth through adult) programs we offer and help them navigate all of our resources,” she said. “So they know they keep coming back to the library and use our services, all (for free.)”

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