By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
Contrary to popular belief, Santa's toy shop is not at the North Pole.
Well, maybe it is, but a corporate branch of the shop is located at the Moffat County High School woodshop.
Every year, juniors and seniors in Craig Conrad's wood shop class construct toys that are given away to local children for the holidays.
Conrad calls it "Santa's Woodshop."
Students construct wooden airplanes with wheels that children can sit on and ride around.
They also create rocking horses and llamas that are large enough to seat a child.
If a student knows a child between the ages of two and five years old, they can give their creation to them.
But for the students who don't know a child who they'd like to give a toy to, a different business or agency is selected each year, and toys are given to the children of employees at the selected business.
This year, children of the City of Craig employees will be the recipients toys.
On Wednesday night Dec. 19, Conrad's classroom will be transformed into Santa's toy shop.
When the children who are to receive toys arrive, Conrad's students, dressed in elf costumes, will be busy hammering, sawing and painting, recreating the scene of what people would picture Santa's shop to look like.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand, as well as carolers from Sunset Elementary.
The children will get to sit on Santa's lap, and at that time will be given a toy from a high school student dressed as an elf.
"We do a fund-raiser every year and this is our way of giving something back," Conrad said.
Conrad's students voluntarily dress up as elves now, but when he first started the "Santa's Woodshop" program years ago, it was difficult to convince ego-conscious high school kids to wear the costumes.
"I had to dress up myself and run around from room to room in the school," he said. "The kids thought if I could do it, so could they."
Shaun Hadley, a junior who plans on giving a wooden alligator to his 5-year-old nephew, has no qualms about dressing up as an elf for "Santa's Woodshop."
"It's a great thing," he said. "It really brings the community together."
Conrad had special thanks for Samuelson's True Value Hardware, who donates materials used to make the toys every year.