Every year around this time my littles and I participate in Operation Christmas Child, which is the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, it uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. It is awesome. We have been participating since Noah was 1…so for about 7 years now, WOW!!! It is truly one of our biggest highlights in November and it really gets us into thinking about the upcoming holidays in such a different way. Each of my little ones shops for a child in their age range, we call them their ‘faraway friend’, and we pray for these children and think about what things they would love to see in their boxes, what things they need, what things may be helpful to them living in conditions so different from ours.
This year I even found a few videos of children opening up their boxes which was really good for my kids to see, all that happiness over a shoebox of gifts. Such a different place to be, isn’t it? We set out last week to spend some time shopping for our faraway friends, we start off with a plastic shoe box so the child can reuse it for another purpose. If you want you can always send your gifts in a regular cardboard shoe box too, I never seem to remember to keep those around after school shoe shopping they always go right to the recycling bin! Operation Christmas Child also has empty boxes you can put together and use as well! I am always so proud of the things my children choose to send. Some great gift ideas that my kids have picked out over the years are:
- toothpaste and toothbrushes (we buy the big 4 packs for each child!)
- bars of soap
- washcloths (we tend to send the compact travel kind that once you wet them they poof out into a washcloth)
- bath poofs
- hair brushes and combs
- packs of pens and pencils (we get mechanical in case they were to lose the sharpener, that would stink!)
- pads of paper
- sticky paper
- watercolor paint set
- coloring books
- small balls
- hacky sacks
- jump ropes
- playing cards
- matchbox cars
- my girls love to send hair bands, clips, and ponytail holders
- rain ponchos
- hard candy (my kids love sending off lollipops or candy canes)
My three oldest wrote letters and my little guy drew a picture to include in their boxes too.
And just a note…You CANNOT include:
Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.
Then we pack everything up and I used my crazy awesome tetris skillz to get everything to fit inside. You can donate $7 online (see here) and you will get a tracking label to see just where in this wide world your boxes end up. This is actually a really fun thing to do with kids!!!So. Much. Fun. I am so glad we have this tradition we do every year! I hope and pray that the children who receive our boxes are blessed and it helps them in some small way!
Thanks for stopping by today! And if you want to participate in Operation Christmas Child, you can learn more about it HERE as well as find a drop off location near you!