Operation Christmas Child collects shoeboxes filled with gifts and delivers them to children in need around the world. What an amazing opportunity for people to practice giving during the festive season, and to get your kids involved, knowing that your gift will mean so much to a child in another country who may not receive a present at Christmas time.
You can use any shoebox you like (no larger than an A4 lid), or you can order these pre-printed shoeboxes here. Our church handed these out one Sunday for us.
Choose whether you'll pack your shoebox for a boy, or a girl, in the following age categories: 2-4 years / 5-9 years / 10-14 years. We chose girl 2-4 years, as this is the same age as Miss M who is almost 3.
Pack your shoebox following this guide:
- something to LOVE
- something to WEAR
- something for SCHOOL
- something to PLAY WITH
- something for PERSONAL HYGIENE
- something SPECIAL
Due to customs regulations, you can't include items that leak, food, used or damaged items, breakable items, items that could scare a child (like a toy gun), gambling-related items or any religious literature.
We packed our box solely from The Reject Shop! It cost approximately $20 altogether.
We bought a notebook, stickers, pencils, a plastic cup, a little doll, cute hair ties, a ball, a packet of tissues, a soft toy, a girl's t-shirt (size 3), 2 face washers (I wouldn't normally choose white, but there wasn't much choice!) and a toothbrush. We covered all the categories, and it was really easy to find items, as the brochure (see below) gives lots of good examples. It was really fun shopping with Miss M and finding things that we know a child Miss M's age will love when she opens it this Christmas!
This is the brochure that came with our box, but all the information is on the website here.
Once you have collected all your items (I suggest taking your box with you so you can see if it will all fit while you are at the shop!) you have to donate $10 per shoebox for shipping (so altogether it cost $30 for me to do one box). Online donations are preferred (click here) and you'll get a barcoded (so you can track it!) label emailed to you to print and attach to the box. You can also use cash, credit card or cheque to donate, and you just fill out the form on the brochure (above) and attach the label (non-trackable) provided.
Then find your nearest drop-off point - you can find them here, or many churches will send them off for you. Make sure it's all completed and dropped off by the end of October!
I plan to do this each year with the girl's to encourage giving - so important at Christmas time!