Behind the Scenes on PHS’s Annual Winter Wishes


“Winter Wishes” is a holiday tradition at Puyallup High School that comes around every December. It is a time where the Leadership team gets together to collect gifts based on what students have wished for. However, in order to get everything finished by Dec. 16 there are many important tasks that must be covered, some that one might not even consider.  

Senior Maya Thomas explains her role when prepping for this event. 

“My job specifically is we go around helping different families who reach out to us who need different things from coats to shoes,” Thomas said.  

Thomas says that the main focus has been families in need at Puyallup High School.  

“I get all the background information about what kind of people we’re getting gifts for, ages, and all that kind of stuff. With my group, we work together to find businesses to donate [gifts].” said Thomas.

Brielle Huetten, senior, also adds on this group process works. 

“We all divide into different groups, during class we go off and go to businesses and ask if they’re willing to donate anything,” Huetten said. “I don’t think people realize how much work is actually put into it.” 

Another thing people may wonder is what gifts people can ask for? According to Huetten, there is a wide range of wishes a student can make. 

“We basically have everyone send in their wishes and then we divide them into different categories by needs. We have clothing, food, pets and driver’s ed,” Huetten said. 

Sophomore, Luke Faccone, also mentions the types of gifts purchased for this event. Luke’s job is to organize wishes for those that aren’t in need of support. 

“It’s everything from electronic stuff, like headphones, to gift cards, stuffed animals, and blankets,” said Faccone. 

Huetten mentions that asking businesses to donate money isn’t the only way they make Winter Wishes possible. 

“We do fundraisers on our social media, and I think it’s a big process, but it only works out because we all work together,” Huetten said. “We [leadership] put in work for two months before we try to make it [winter wishes] all happen and it’s all worth it.” 

Thomas says that being able to give back to the community is important to her class. 

“We are just trying to help families in whatever way possible.” said Thomas.

Community is a common thing often cherished during the holiday season and Thomas states that it is a huge factor Leadership strives to provide when the time comes to hand out gifts.  

“I just think it’s a great time where we get to help support everybody at our school, and even bring joy to people with the littlest things,” Thomas said. 

Huetten also discussed how important community is to her during this time of year as well. 

“It gives our school a sense of community. It’s like everyone’s helping everyone,” said Huetten, “I feel like it makes students feel important and like, somebody’s looking out for them, and somebody notices they need that boost of happiness.” 

Faccone adds that making students feel welcome is just as crucial as making them feel seen or building a community within the school. 

“It makes more of a community feeling in the school and that people care that you’re here, and everyone’s welcome here,” said Faccone. 

Thomas pointed out that despite the months of hard work that they put into the “Winter Wishes” foundation, the best part is when gifts are given out. Thomas describes the joy that comes from being a part of those that give to people in need. 

“It’s so much fun. I remember sophomore year just going into the classrooms even though I was super nervous going into a random teacher’s classroom, just seeing the joy from the actual students receiving the gifts to the whole class that was so excited for them, it was a really good experience,” said Thomas.