Nana’s House Offers Craft Instructions Instead Of Holiday Shop
Jeanine Earnhart is one of the masterminds behind Nana’s Holiday House in Friday Harbor. With the ongoing pandemic, Earnhart, along with her daughter Laura Earnhart Holden and friend Debbie Cutting, opted not to open the longstanding holiday store this year.
Earnhart spoke with the Update about Nana’s Holiday House’s current socially distanced options; how the store usually operates; and the future of the island holiday staple.
Q: Why did you decide to not open Nana’s Holiday House this year?
A: After going back and forth about opening Nana’s House this year, as [COVID-19] cases increased, we decided it was too big of a risk for kids, parents and my helper elves. I would feel awful if someone was exposed at our shop.
Q: What are you doing instead?
A: This year, when we couldn’t open, I tried to think of how we could continue the spirit of giving for the kids and thought it would be fun for them to make their gifts.
I got together with Creative Passions craft store and we came up with a display of simple craft ideas the kids could make along with YouTube instructions on how to make them. Many of them can be made with items at home, plus the craft store has lots of supplies.
If people go on to Facebook to Nana’s Holiday House, there are pictures of items we’ve made and the instructions. There are $15 gift certificates from Nana’s House available at the store to get kids started. That should cover the items they need.
Q: Why did you open Nana’s Holiday House?
A: We started Nana’s House to provide an opportunity for kids to experience the joy of giving.
When my kids were little, we had a Sprouse Ritz on the island, where kids could buy small little things.
I would send them in the store with $20 and sit in the car while they spend a good hour in there picking just the right gifts for me and their dad. Christmas morning, they were as excited for us to open our gifts as they were opening theirs and I saw them experience the joy of giving. I decided we could have a store like that, with people making or buying small gifts for kids to buy for their family.
Q: How do you usually collect items for the store?
A: Everything is donated during the year. The store (usually a donated space, and somewhere new every year) is open to kids only, up to 18 years of age.
Nothing is over $10, with the average price being about $4. We wrap the gifts while they make name tags. It is so fun to watch them come in with their lists and choose just the right item for everyone on their list. Local restaurants have made cookies for our “parent’s lounge” where parents can sit while the kids shop.
My “elves” were all volunteers who helped run the store and wrap. Without all my volunteer elves putting in hours, this wouldn’t have happened. [It has] been fun to see some of our very little kids grow up and return to help in the store.
Q: What do you do with the store’s profits?
A: We give everything back to the community.
[We have given] gas cards and food cards to the Family Resource Center and domestic violence victims; swimming lessons for many children; electric bills paid for families in need; cash to families going through health problems; gift certificates to Nana’s House for kids to shop; ferry tickets for families needing to go off island for health reasons; school supplies; scholarships for high school graduates; tuition help for moms going back to school; support for after- and in-school special projects for all grade levels; and supplies for free art classes for kids at the San Juan Island Art Museum.
Q: What do you hope for Nana’s Holiday House next year?
A: For next year, sigh, we are hoping that life will be back to normal and we will open our 9th year in the traditional way. Until then, we are hoping to keep our kiddos feeling the joy of giving in a different way.