While consumers were crowding the streets and businesses of downtown Annapolis Thursday night during the second night of Midnight Madness, shoppers inside On Pointe Dance Studio on Maryland Avenue were buying a different kind of gift at Annapolis' first Gifts that Give Hope Fair.
Among the recipients of two of those gifts were 6-year-old Fiona and 8-year-old Eva Donegan, who both held up cards with puppies on them.
"We got donations for the kids to SPCA," their mother, Claudia Donegan said.
"It's more from the heart," Donegan said about the gift, adding that the purchase was a way to teach the children a meaningful lesson about the importance of giving back.
Annapolis resident Peggy Summers also made two donations to the SPCA of Anne Arundel County for the "dog lovers" on her gift list.
"I think it will have much more meaning than just giving them another trinket," she said.
Donegan and Summers were among the shoppers who stopped by the fair throughout the night.
Once they walked in, shoppers were greeted by one of several volunteers and handed a shopping list. Instead of clothes, jewelry or electronics, shoppers could choose from items on the list like "a meal for a family in need..." from Creating Communities or "a cot for the shelter to house a homeless person" from the Arundel House of Hope.
Participating in the fair were 13 non-profits, many of them located right in Annapolis.
Before deciding on which cause to give to, shoppers got a chance to meet with volunteers and employees from the different non-profits, to learn more about their efforts.
Once they decided on their donation, shoppers marked off those items on the list and headed to a small room to check out. They were given a card to present to the recipient of the gift, which tells them what was donated in their honor.
"This way, you're giving a gift that's gonna keep giving to other people," said Jessica Sauers, who was there representing The ARC of the Central Chesapeake Region.
Elaine Deimler, a Gifts That Give Hope volunteer said she was "blown away" by the turnout, adding that she was thrilled for the non-profits of Annapolis.
"For a first event, I think the non-profits are gonna be pleasantly surprised at the hearts that turned up tonight," Deimler said.
The Gifts that Give Hope Fairs started in central Pennsylvania four years ago. Jeannie Kruidenier, one of the organizers, recently moved to Annapolis and decided to bring the event here too.
Deimler and others drove down from Pennsylvania to help Kruidenier the night of the event.
Many representing the non-profits who were there, say they hope the fair becomes a new tradition in Annapolis.
"I hope it's going to be an annual event," said Angela Murray, development director for the Hope House Treatment Center in Crownsville.
If you missed Thursday night's fair, you still have a chance to make a donation to these non-profits on behalf of the people on your guest list. You can shop online through Dec. 20. For more information and to check out a shopping list, visit the Gifts That Give Hope website here.