Filling Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is a Christmas tradition for our family. In a simple gesture, the kids and I gather our gifts to go in the boxes typically starting on Fall Break. We try to send out by early November, so the kids who receive them do so by Christmas time. In these boxes, we include the following:
Items to Include
- Simple toys, like a jump rope or bouncy ball
- Wooden games or puzzles from the dollar store
- Basic hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, comb or brush
- Clothes, such as a T-shirt, underwear, socks, and possibly flip flops or another kind of shoe
- School supplies, like notepads, pencils with sharpener, pen, or markers
- Whatever our child enjoys at their age, such as matchbox cars or little dolls, gets included
- A handwritten note
- Books are always welcome
Most importantly, the kids and I pray for the child who will receive this gift. We pray for the hearts of the children who receive the gifts, for the volunteers who serve by promoting, collecting, and distributing the boxes, and for this ministry to be effective in reaching people.
Shipping to Another Part of the World
We can pay $9 to have it shipped, and we can track where it goes online through Samaritan’s Purse. These shoeboxes are an amazing start to the Christmas season because they turn our focus outward. It’s an incredible learning opportunity for the kids. Undoubtedly, the kids want to know more about the country and culture that this child is in. It teaches our children empathy and an age-appropriate awareness of the world we live in, outside our community. My prayer, like many other parents, is that it fosters in their hearts a love for other people who come from different backgrounds than us. I pray that their love grows as they grow, and that they want to share the love of Jesus Christ with others.
Operation Christmas Child Legacy
Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes bless others, but I think we are the ones who are truly blessed. We coordinate these with our church’s mission opportunities, but you can give a shoebox regardless of church affiliation. Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has distributed over 147 million boxes! Learn more at the official website here.
For more ideas of ways to teach your children about giving, see Christmas Giving with Kids.