A Christmas tradition our family has loved for years is Operation Christmas Child.
It seems like everyone knows about Operation Christmas Child by now, but in case you don’t: Basically, you fill a shoebox with toys, personal hygiene items, candy, school supplies, etc. and it’s sent overseas to a poor child in another country. A gospel booklet is included in the language of the child it will go to (Operation Christmas Child’s founder is Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham).
For years my Sunday School classes would fill boxes, and our family always has done several. It’s just a really easy and inexpensive way to touch a child’s life. Here’s our stash this year:
- You don’t have to go out and buy a lot for the boxes. As a bargain shopper, I get free toothpaste and toothbrushes throughout the year and keep these in a box for Christmas Child each year. Additionally, my girls save kids’ meal toys they get; they are perfect for these boxes.
- A few years ago I was talking with a lady who had worked with Christmas Child to actually deliver some of the boxes. She said that some of the moms of kids who got the boxes had been so excited to get the plastic storage container, and that they planned to use it for food storage. Since hearing that, I’ve made most of our boxes from plastic containers rather than shoeboxes. I buy them for $1 each at Big Lots.
- The woman I referred to earlier also said that there are far fewer boxes received for older children – so if you’re wondering what would be a good age range to choose, you might want to keep that in mind.
- Operation Christmas Child has an awesome new feature this year. Go to the website and pay there (they request a $7 donation per box to go towards shipping), and they will give you a label to print out and put on the box. It has a code on it which they will scan and email you the location where your box ends up. I am very excited by this as we have always wondered where ours went.
- We always include a photo and our address. One year, we did get a letter and photo from some boys who received our box. That was really exciting!
Check out the website for more information – the week the boxes are collected locally this year is Nov. 16 – 23, so you have time to do this. Get your kids involved; they’ll love getting the chance to bless others.
The project is nationwide, so the website should list where you can drop off your boxes in your town.