Operation Christmas Child

It’s that time of year.  Time to make my list and check it twice.  Since we make a lot of our holiday gifts, it’s important to get an early start.  But when it comes to choosing what gifts we’re going to buy Little Crafter, well, things get a little tricky?  Why?
1. We have so. much. stuff.  Seriously.  He already has more toys than he can play with, more clothes than he can wear, and more stuffed animals than will fit in his bed.  See?
2. He’s an only grandchild on both sides.  Imagine what his Christmas is like.  Yeah.  It’s good to be Little Crafter.
But it’s really important to me that in the midst of this season, he learns to recognize and appreciate the blessings he has.  And to realize that not all kids’ lives are like his.  I want him to understand that there are children in other parts of the world {and in our own neighborhood} who may not get anything at all for Christmas and to see that we can use some of our abundance to help make the holiday a little brighter for them.  One of our favorite ways to do this is by participating in something called
Operation Christmas Child.
It’s organized by a group called Samaritan’s Purse and it’s a fun and easy way to bring joy to a child in another country who doesn’t have the things we take for granted.  What’s it all about?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s how to participate.
1. Grab an empty shoebox or other small plastic container.
2. Choose a gender and age group for your recipient and print off a handy-dandy label.
{age groups are 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14}
3. My favorite part: GO SHOPPING!  Buy gifts to fill your box that will bring joy to a child.  Here’s their list of ideas:
4. Include $7 to cover the cost of shipping and delivery.
5. Find a collection center near you and drop off your box!
It’s that easy!  Then, the boxes will be personally delivered to children in Africa, in the Phillipines, and in other places around the world.  If you want to track what country your box goes to, there’s even a way to do that on the website!
National Collection week is November 14-21.
We are going to do a few boxes, but we’re shopping for them one at a time so that Little Crafter can really understand, participate, and focus on each one individually.  First, he wanted to shop for a little boy like himself, so this box is for a boy in the 2-4 age group.  We prepared by talking about things that he likes that he thought another boy might want to have.  We also talked about things little boys need, like socks and toothbrushes.  Then, we went to good ol’ Target, and here’s what he picked out {with very little help!}:
pencils and a pencil sharpener
a small notebook
a toothbrush {Winnie the Pooh}
toddler toothpaste
sports ball and dinosaur stickers
a squishy blue ball
a fun green ball
Cars sunglasses
Lightning McQueen socks
a small toy car {Lightning, of course!}
a small stuffed Clifford {this was LC’s favorite}
The next step was to pack it.  We like to use Daddy’s shoeboxes when we can since he has big feet…heehee!  In this shot, he’s actually packing the box we made for a 2-4 year old girl.  I’m loving the pink sock monkey!
And we wanted to send a special card along with a photo so that the little boy who gets these goodies can see the little boy who sent them. 
The last things we have to do are drop it off, along with any others we make, and pray for the children who will receive them.

If you’re looking for a fun, easy way to get your children involved in helping others this holiday season {or just to do it yourself}, why not pack a shoebox or two?  You’ll be blessed and so will the child who receives your gifts.
*DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with Samaritan’s Purse nor am I receiving compensation for this post; they don’t even know I’m posting this.  I just think it’s a fantastic project and wanted to share it with you in case you want to participate!*
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22 comments on Operation Christmas Child

  1. Carrie @ My Favorite Finds
    November 1, 2011 at 12:37 PM (4 years ago)

    Our church is doing this, too. It’s so wonderful, isn’t it? Our family is putting together 5 boxes-a toddler girl, 2 boy boxes for age 8, and then 1 teenage girl and one teenage boy box. Love it!

  2. Jaimee
    November 1, 2011 at 12:49 PM (4 years ago)

    Our kids do this through church every year, too. It’s a wonderful organization! I have hoped each year to make a batch of handmade items to include in the boxes, but always run out of time. I need to plan ahead! What a great idea to do a post on this <3

  3. Events DEE-signed
    November 1, 2011 at 1:27 PM (4 years ago)

    Our church does this, too, and it has become one of the Christmas traditions I look forward to. It’s amazing how much stuff you can get into one little box once you start looking!! Thanks for sharing this project with everyone.

  4. Maridith @ Strictly Homemade
    November 1, 2011 at 2:42 PM (4 years ago)

    We just put our Sameritain boxes together at our MOPS group and at my son’s preschool. Love making these with our kids!!

    Found you at Pinkapotumus! I am your newest follower!

  5. MiMi
    November 1, 2011 at 4:01 PM (4 years ago)

    We did this last year and have our stuff to do it again this year! We LOVE this!

  6. I am LOVD
    November 1, 2011 at 5:29 PM (4 years ago)

    Philanthropy is a good lesson at any age. I’m always looking for ways to bring this idea home to my child and am looking into the project. It seems like a fun one!!!

  7. Jamie
    November 1, 2011 at 5:57 PM (4 years ago)

    Wow this is fantastic! I want to do this too! My baby is too young to teach these valuable lessons yet, but when she’s old enough I want her to learn to be giving and grateful. <3 Thanks for posting this!!

    For Love of Cupcakes

  8. Vicky
    November 1, 2011 at 7:07 PM (4 years ago)

    We do this through our church and it is a fantastic charity. Thanks for spotlighting this and letting others know about it. Vicky from Mess For Less

  9. Grandma
    November 1, 2011 at 8:48 PM (4 years ago)

    What a wonderful post…This is such a great charity. I think it is so precious that Noah is learning to share with others.

  10. mermaid
    November 1, 2011 at 9:04 PM (4 years ago)

    What a lovely post!

    We are doing two shoeboxes.. my daughter chose a boy and a girl 5- 9 yrs.

    It`s a lovely project :)

  11. Meagan
    November 2, 2011 at 3:26 AM (4 years ago)

    I love this.. when I was little my favorite part about the holidays was going with my mom to the mall and picking a name off of a HUGE tree and picking out a gift for the little boy or girl! I think it really put things into perspective for me. I always couldn’t believe when the child was asking for a new coat for the winter instead of a toy. There is nothing better than giving.

  12. Melanie @ bear rabbit bear
    November 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM (4 years ago)

    My church does this every year and we love it. Thanks for linking to Things I’ve Done Thursday.


  13. Venassa
    November 5, 2011 at 3:57 AM (4 years ago)

    They used to do this when I was in high school. I had forgotten about it until this year but the daycare my mother works at is doing it so me and her are each filling a box. It’s such an amazing idea. I love the idea of making Christmas better for someone who doesn’t have much.

  14. Kristin
    November 6, 2011 at 12:36 AM (4 years ago)

    I love this idea. My mom used to pick a kid from the community who was my age (from an Angel Tree) and I would get to do the shopping. These days, I love buying Christmas gifts for my students each year (usually books and arts & crafts) because it gives me that same feeling of helping kids. Stopping by from Seasonal Inspiration at Crumbs and Chaos!

  15. Carrie
    November 6, 2011 at 1:55 AM (4 years ago)

    What a wonderful idea, Amy! Thank you for sharing at Crafty Moms Share.

  16. katie
    November 8, 2011 at 4:26 AM (4 years ago)

    I look forward to doing this every year. I think it is such a good example for our kids to show how we can take care of and love others.

  17. Brooke @ Let Kids Create
    November 11, 2011 at 7:23 AM (4 years ago)

    We did this for the first time last year – and did a sub for santa for a family in need. I don’t know if the kids will remember, but it was a good experience at the time to be shopping for others who don’t have some of the basic necessities. thanks for sharing on Monday Madness!

  18. Laura @Art For Little Hands
    November 13, 2011 at 11:46 PM (4 years ago)

    Awesome! My kids have too many toys too. I am not even doing Christmas for them this year. I know my kids preschool does operation Christmas. I will have to get going on it or something similar. I think this year my kids will give and not get. I know that will be hard for them, but I can’t even think of anything they don’t have and I am sick of just buying more things they don’t need.

    Thanks for sharing with Monday Madness. I am glad you helped me start thinking about giving.

    • dancers4life
      October 21, 2013 at 6:27 PM (2 years ago)

      You bet! It’s such a fabulous program!


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