This Year’s Christmas Charity: Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

This week we had a fabulous time putting together our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. OCC-logo

Every year, as a family, we choose a holiday charity to participate in, something where the kids take the focus off themselves and what they want and think about other kids in other families who may not have as much as they have.

It’s part of our effort to instill a love of giving in our children and let them appreciate that no matter how much they may be giving up or not getting, there are others who have less.

Well this year, we chose to put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is an outreach ministry through Samaritan’s Purse, where they send shoe boxes packed with fun kid friendly toys and practical hygiene items to needy children around the world.

Operation Christmas Child allows you to use either a regular size shoebox, wrapped, or the plastic shoe boxes you can buy for a $1. I chose to do the plastic shoe boxes, because then that gives the mom or child a durable box to store things in.

The kids and I printed off the list of suggested items and discussed them. Each box has to be marked whether it is for:

  • A boy 2-4
  • A boy 5-9
  • A boy 10-14
  • A girl 2-4
  • A girl 5-9
  • A girl 10-14

So that worked out perfectly for us. Little E did a box for a girl 5-9, Z did a box for a boy 5-9, J did a box for a boy 10-14, and K did a box for a girl 10-14. 

No big surprise that Little E’s box was full of pink girly things and Z’s had balls and cars :)

But I’m also really proud of Z who is into war stuff, for understanding and respecting that anything related to war was not allowed in the boxes. And it was a good opportunity to explain why – for many children war is not a game, but all too stark of a reality.

After invading a store for an hour, we came home with bags of stuff and interestingly enough it was exactly the right amount to fit inside the shoe boxes.  Not only did the kids choose age appropriate kid stuff, but they also included pratical items like:

  • notebooks & pens
  • brush or comb (and hair clips or bands for the girls)
  • a bar of soap & wash cloth
  • a tshirt
  • toothpaste and toothbrush

And that too gave us the opportunity to talk about how some basic items like these are luxaries in other areas of the world, that not everyone can just go to the grocery store any time they want.

OCCColoringPagesTo personalize the boxes, we went ahead and printed off the Operation Christmas Child coloring page, and filled out a little bit of the information about where the boxes were coming from and about each child who packed them.

Kate even wrote a personal letter to the person recieving her box.

After the boxes were all packed up, we chose to donate the shipping costs online so that we could get the barcoded labels. This is a really cool feature because Samaritan’s Purse will email us and let us know where in the world our boxes are shipped (and thus, making this a geography lesson :)  as well)

If you haven’t already chosen a christmas charity to participate in this year, I encourage you to check out doing a Operation Christmas Child shoebox. It’s a lot of fun and provides a ton of discussion opportunities.

But either way, choosing any ministry or charity to work with at Christmas time is a wonderful way to help our children (and ourselves) take their eyes and thoughts off themselves and what they want and think of others, the way Christ would want us to.

Enjoy the Season!


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