Operation Christmas Child

Do remember what it was like as a kid to wake up on Christmas morning and run to the Christmas tree to find piles of gifts and presents stacked around it?

Do you remember what it was like to tear the wrapping paper off a gift, so excited to find out what was inside that you felt like you just couldn’t unwrap fast enough?

Do you remember the smile that came to your face and the joy that filled your eyes when you found out that you’d been given exactly what you wanted?

I’m sure most of us have happy memories similar to those. But for many kids around the world, Christmas morning is just another day. No tree. No gifts. No wrapping paper. Many of them have never received a Christmas present in their entire life.

One organization is working to change that.

Operation Christmas Child, founded in 1993 as a ministry project of Samaritan’s Purse, sends shoeboxes full of gifts all around the world to give to children on Christmas Day. Not only are children presented with shoeboxes full toys, clothes, school and hygiene supplies, but they are also presented with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, either through a live presentation or a booklet written specifically for them that tells the Gospel story in their native language.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has distributed over 100 million shoeboxes to boys and girls in more than 130 countries. That’s a lot of joyful Christmas mornings!

I love this organization and the work that they do. I love to imagine the face of the child that receives the shoebox I packed for them.

I imagine which toy they’ll pick up first.

I wonder if they’ll share with their friends and siblings.

I imagine which part of the gift they’ll like best.

But most of all I love that I’m helping to spread God’s Word and love to people around the world.

If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, now is the perfect time! Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week is November 18 – 25. You can find out more information on their website like how to pack a shoebox and where to drop your shoebox off. You can even watch Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty pack his own shoebox!

While Operation Christmas Child has a ton of great gift ideas on their website, today I’m going to show you what I put in my shoebox.

First choose whether you want your gift to go to a boy or girl, age range 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. I chose a 5- to 9-year-old boy. Next, purchase your gifts, then you’re ready to pack.

I packed my gifts in a plastic container about the size of a shoebox because I figured the kid can use the plastic container, too, and it won’t deteriorate as quickly as a cardboard shoebox. Either choice is fine, though. You can also wrap your box/container, but I’m the world’s worst gift wrapper, so I opted out. I don’t want my kid receiving an ugly box!

Operation Christmas Child, shoebox

Step 1 – Get ready to pack your gifts. I used an empty plastic container similar in size to a shoebox for mine.

Then I gathered all my gifts and laid them out, trying to create a mental picture of how they would best fit in the container.

Operation Christmas Child, shoebox

Step 2 – I lay out the gifts I’ll pack in the shoebox. I included a ball, coloring book and crayons, two shirts and Hot Wheels cars.

All packed!

Operation Christmas Child, shoebox

Step 3 – After packing, unpacking and repacking several times, I got everything to fit in the box!

Once your box is packed, you’ll need to attach a label to it, noting the gender and age of the child it should be delivered to (you can get your labels here). I didn’t get a photo of this because I printed and attached my label in a hurry one morning before church. Sorry for the fail!

You can also make a shipping donation to print a special label that will let you track your box. I think this is a great idea! I can’t wait to see where my box ends up!

So there you have it! Such a small effort on your part can make such a huge difference in the life of a child.

Will you pack a shoebox this year?

(And in case you think you’re too busy, you can build a shoebox online! No excuses. 🙂 )

4 Responses to Operation Christmas Child
  1. Anita Reply

    A truly wonderful project, love it!

  2. Elizabeth Mayberry Reply

    I love that you made boxes this year! I try to every year but this year the timing just wasn’t so great! I LOVE the organization!

    • Kristy Stevenson

      This was my first time to pack a box in several years. I always packed one as a kid, but I fell away from it in college. I love the new options they’ve added over the past few years like the box tracker and the digital shoebox builder!

    • Elizabeth Mayberry

      yeah! I didn’t even know those things were still there!

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