I wanted to do a reminder post about Operation Christmas Child boxes because this is a great time of year to grab a few things.
This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions and it is so easy to do. Plus if you plan it right you can be really generous on a very small budget.
So if you are not familiar here is the scoop:
Operation Christmas Child is a donation program to send shoeboxes to children in need in war torn countries all around the world. More often then not this is the only thing a child will get for the holidays and many of them live under horrifying circumstances to begin with.
You simply pack a shoebox with items a child might want or need and then you print off a label and you can track exactly where your box goes. You can choose a gender and an age range for your box and inside you put items that would be appropriate.
You do need to pay $7.00 for shipping so I try to shop year round to get great items to stuff in the box for super cheap. I just put it away in a tub in the closet and once the holidays roll around, I am ready to make my boxes!
Right now is a great time to shop with the awesome Back to School sales and clearance that just started. Also I try to include some clothing in my boxes- so underwear and socks are on sale right now. Also a lot of stores have dirt cheap summer stuff on clearance- look for t-shirts or little jammies that might get tucked into a box.
I watch the Target Dollar Spot for clearance sales year round and that can be a great time to pick up coloring books, socks, toys, hair accessories etc…
Here are a few quick items you DO NOT want to include:
- Anything violent (no little guns, army men etc..)- if you are not sure just skip it.
- Anything that will melt (like chocolate)
- Anything liquid- nail polishes, body wash etc…
- Gift wrapped items (the people in the processing centers need to see what you packed up for safety so don’t wrap stuff)
- Anything used- this is all new items please
And here are the kinds of things YOU DO want to include:
- Personal hygeine products like fun toothbrushes, bars of soap, hair brushes, toothpaste, bandaids etc..
- Clothing (underwear, socks, pj’s, t-shirts etc..)- I try to avoid characters on stuff because you don’t know where it will go. Elmo or characters like that would be a safe bet.
- Toys- stickers, balls, cars, jump ropes etc…
- School supplies- crayons, coloring books, pens, pencils (and a sharpener!), markers etc..
- Other cool stuff like flashlights (and batteries!), hard candy, little plastic necklaces and bracelets, hair accessories etc…
I try to include something from each category and I try to get things that are comforting and might have a chance to last awhile. Little dolls, stuffed animals, new clothing… all of those things seem comforting to me so I always try to put those in the boxes. You do need to provide a shoebox or I prefer to use the $.97 shoebox size Sterilite tubs from the Dollar Store or Walmart. The shoebox needs to completely close (although if you really stuff yours they have rubberbands you can use to strap the lid on.)
I have a sample idea for a tub pictured above. I added up the contents of the tub and it is about $5.00 or so that I paid- so really this is something that will set me back $5.00 + $7 for shipping and it will make some very deserving child’s holiday. So money well spent!
You can also include notes from your children and photos in your boxes. Usually my girls like to put stickers and decorate the boxes and then they do little coloring pages to put inside the box.
And you can read more about Operation Christmas Child here.