A Community Project that Gives Back

Goodwill Omaha is honored to sponsor Merry Thriftmas for the third year. The concept was brought to us in 2019 by community volunteers calling themselves the Goodwill Elves. In 2019, they approached the manager of the Goodwill retail store in South Papillion with an idea to give back to the community and boost Goodwill Omaha’s visibility during the holiday season: Merry Thriftmas.

Really, the Goodwill Elves are led by Madison Eisert, who developed the Merry Thriftmas concept for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. Madison and her elves are devoted to finding new, innovative ways to benefit the community through altruism.

How It Started

In 2019, Madison and the Goodwill Elves wrapped the four display windows at our Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center in South Papillion and filled the windows with holiday decor and gift items. Most items were purchased by the Elves, and Goodwill Omaha donated many items for the Elves’ window themes.

On Dec. 1, the Elves unwrapped the windows at the Merry Thriftmas Unveiling Event. They were stunning and reminiscent of the breathtaking, dreamy department store holiday windows of the past. From Dec. 1 through Dec. 14, visitors to the South Papillion Goodwill store could receive a ticket at the checkouts, which they could enter to win all of the items in one of the windows.

Two weeks after the window unveiling, the Goodwill Elves hosted the drawing and announced the winner of each window during a Facebook Live event.

Merry Thriftmas 2021

Last year, the pandemic forced a smaller-scale Merry Thriftmas, but this year, we’ve changed how the process and made this event a formal program. We identified additional ways we can use Merry Thriftmas to benefit the Omaha and surrounding communities. We’ve established groups of stores — a store with display windows and one or two stores that don’t have display windows — and added a round-it-up element to benefit other nonprofits in the community.