Filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child 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:
- 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
- Hard candy
Most importantly, the kids and I pray for the child who will receive this gift. We can pay $7 to have it shipped, and we can track where it goes online through Samaritan’s Purse. 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. These shoeboxes are an amazing start to the Christmas season because they turn our focus outward.
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. Learn more at the official website here.