Christmas craft kits made available for kids


Elizabeth Wood | The Daily Eastern News

As cars pull up, Diane Ratliff, tourism and special events coordinator, grabs children’s art kits at City Hall on Saturday morning. While she grabbed the kits, her mother would mark off the names on the registered list.

Elizabeth Wood, Staff Reporter

Christmas in the Heart of Charleston kicked off their winter art kit activity on Saturday morning at City Hall.

The winter themed art kits were donated by Bunches of Treasures Studio. The 150 kits included instructions to a video for mixing colors, paint, paint brushes and pre-drawn canvases with a winter theme on them. Due to the limited supply, parents had to preregister through Christmas in the Heart of Charleston’s Facebook page to get an art kit.

As tourism and special events coordinator Diane Ratliff and her mother waited in the doorway of City Hall, they talked quietly until Ratliff’s mother would state, “car.” Then Ratliff would go outside, greet the visitors who had driven up, and ask how many and which art kits they wanted: Frosty the Snowman, a Christmas tree, a penguin or an elephant.

“Obviously, with COVID, we can’t do the same activities we have done with Christmas in the Heart,” Ratliff said. “So we wanted a way to include the kids in the activities and be able to allow them to participate in something fun. Once they pick up their art kits, then they can return them to us, and we will display them in the month of December around the square.”

She said that if parents want their children’s painting hung up in the square, they’ll be able to put completed art works in a drop box in City Hall starting on Monday. The paintings will then be hung around the square.

Cindy Rivas said her daughter loves arts and crafts. She added that they had participated in previous art activities and her daughter enjoyed seeing her work displayed in the square.

“My kids did the summer art kits, and really enjoyed it,” Rivas said. “So we’ll give them an activity to do while it’s cold.”

Chelsea Renfert said she decided to grab a kit because her five-year-old daughter loves art.

“Our daughter loves art,” Renfert said. “She’s five and she doesn’t get to do in person schooling, so we got one to make her happy.”

Ratliff added that if they will keep the registration open until they run out of art kits. Currently they have about 21 children’s art kits left. They also have adult art kits, which they will be selling for $20.

The funds from the adult art kits will help fund additional children’s art kits.

In addition to the art kits, there will also be a 125 gingerbread decorating kits available at Diepholtz Auto Center, and pickup will be the week of Nov. 16 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The gingerbread houses will be displayed, and they will also be entered into a gingerbread house decorating contest.

“They can take the kits home and if they choose, we have a gingerbread contest that they can enter during Christmas in the Heart of Charleston,” Ratliff said, “Those would be displayed throughout the month, but any one that comes back will be entered in the contest.”

She added that anyone can enter the gingerbread contest with or without a gingerbread kit.

Rivas said that her and her children will also be getting gingerbread decorating kits.

Rivas looked into the back seat and asked her daughter, “Do you have any special plans to decorate?”

Her daughter thought for a moment and quietly said, “I’m going to make mailboxes and a car and flowers!”

Ratliff said there will also be a static parade this year on Dec. 5, from 5-6:30 p.m., complete with Santa and his reindeer.

“The floats will park along the square and participants will drive through to look at the floats and the lights,” Ratliff said. “And then we will have Santa and a reindeer passing out treat bags at the end.”

She added that those driving through the static parade does not have to pay a fee, but the first 500 kids, ages 12 and under, will get treat bags similar to the ones they used during their “trunk-or-treat.” Parade floats will have to preregister to enter the parade, and the “best lit float” will be judged.

Rivas said that she feels that it’s important to keep traditions alive the best we can during this hard time

“I’m excited that they have found some alternative ways to still allow the community to celebrate and come together, as we stay apart,” Rivas said. “I think it’s important for us to continue traditions and not completely lose everything.”


Elizabeth Wood can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].