Christmas at our house starts the day after Thanksgiving. This is a rule at our house! … and only two things make me break that rule.
- Shopping (I am already done with ALL of my Christmas shopping – I will share more on another post.)
- Operation Christmas Child (OCC) – Otherwise known as Shoeboxes (at least in our house!) – That’s what I want to tell you about today!
Years ago Fifi and I were watching a Veggie Tales video together and we saw this:
We both wanted to participate so we did. Fast forward over ten years and packing shoeboxes is one of my kiddos favorite Christmas traditions.
We need to do this before Thanksgiving because November 18 – 25 is the national drop-off week this year. Samaritans Purse needs to have time to collect the boxes, check every single one (there are still crazy people out there), and ship them all over the world. The locations change and increase every year. Since 1993, over 168 million kids in over 160 countries have received a shoebox. In recent years our boxes have gone to hurricane victims, remote villages, and refugees.
We like to pack our shoeboxes in a sturdy, reusable container. Here’s the categories we try to cover – and the items we included this year (We chose 2-4 year old boys):
- Toiletries and personal items – Plate and bowl, toothbrushes, comb, brush, tissues, t-shirt, backpack, undies, and socks.
- “School” or craft supplies – Coloring books, crayons, paper, stickers, scissors, stamps, glue stick, and playdough with cookie cutters.
- Something special – Full sized blanket and stuffed animal.
- Toys – puzzle, board book, hot wheels car, trains with lights, figurine, stuffed hero friend, flute, whistle, camera, slap-bracelet animal, rubber ducky, and a bouncy ball.
Then using all of my Tetris skills, a couple of prayers, and only a few bad words, I somehow jam everything in the box. (I take some items out of the original packaging to make them fit, but I make sure to leave them in the packaging if hygiene could be an issue ( toothbrushes, comb and brush set, and plates.) We also place anything that might leak in a zip-lock bag (glue stick and stamps). It is recommended by OCC that something friendly is on top – so this year we made sure the stuffed animals were right on top.
Because of the timing of the shoebox drop off, making these boxes are the start of our Christmas season. Please consider joining us!
An AMAZINGLY SIMPLE way to start your holiday season!