Giving Back: Operation Christmas Child

One of the exciting parts about Christmas for our family is getting to pack up boxes for Operation Christmas Child! We want our children to have a desire to give and be a light for Christ (as I'm sure any parent does)! Hopefully this desire of giving to glorify the Lord will sink in…only time will tell, but this is our daily prayer.

If you haven't heard of Operation Christmas Child, here is a brief summary directly from the Samaritan's Purse Website:

    Operation Christmas Child focuses on the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus Christ, God's greatest gift. Separate from the shoe box and when culturally appropriate, we offer children. “The Greatest Gift of All,” an illustrated Bible storybook in the local language. When possible, children can further explore a faith in Jesus Christ through a voluntary Bible study program.

The main donation item is the shoe box. To participate in giving your own shoe box, you simply:

  1. Find a shoe box for giving.
  2. Choose the age and gender the box will be packed for. Age groups are: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.
  3. Print a label to include with your box for sorting purposes.
  4. Fill the box with age/gender appropriate gifts. Find a list of appropriate items for your child's gender and age.
  5. Include $7 in an enveloped marked “shipping” inside the box placed on the top.
  6. Label the box with the age/gender for the child. Place a rubber band around the box to ensure no contents fall out during shipping.
  7. Pray over your box for the lives it will touch. This is just a personal step that is simply the most important!
  8. Find a drop-off location to drop your box off. All boxes are accumulated and mass shipped to one location for overseas shipment. The collection week for most location is November 24 – 29 (dates change each year).

In the past, we have chosen the ages and genders that follow along with our sons' ages (and genders since they are boys :-) and each boy has their own box. We have also written letters with pictures attached to give it a personal touch.

I am able to get many of the hygiene items for FREE from my frugal shopping so we have more money to spend towards the “fun” stuff! I let my kids be in complete control when it comes to select the “fun” stuff for the boxes. We have fun at the Dollar Store to get the toys, flashlights, candies! Sometimes we're able to get clothing items on clearance at stores too.

My boys and I make a “date” of shopping for the boxes too. Last year, my husband went to the infamous OSU/Michigan game so I was home with the boys and that was our night to shop. Of course, we always include something OSU-related in the boxes :-) This year, hubs is going to that game again so that will be our day to shop, pack, and pray over our boxes just before the collection deadline.

Operation Christmas Child is just one way to give back this holiday season. Does your family pack boxes? Or, do you do something else to give back? Please share your ideas and stories! In this economy, giving back can be done inexpensively with a heart full of love! You will be blessed!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on October 28, 2008


  • Camille - October 28, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

    I cannot get the drop off location finder to work. Any ideas? This sounds like an awesome project. I would love to participate. Thank you, Camille

  • Andrea @ Mommy Snacks - October 28, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    Camille, I am updating the links now for US locations!

    For some reason, I had it linked to Canada locations. Good to know that there are locations for Canadians. Canada!

  • Emily - October 28, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

    I love this kind of thing for Christmas – our church did it a couple of years ago for our Panama mission, but they’ve not done it since. It’s fun to choose all the items to put in the boxes. Hopefully there’s a drop off location in our area.

  • Lindy - October 28, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

    Our church does this project every year and my kids always enjoy doing it!

  • shevigirl - October 28, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

    My hubby and I have done this every year! It is so much more enjoyable with our kids at an age to help now! This year though, we are moving right before Thanksgiving, so I can’t add any more confusion than there already is. To still feel like we’re helping someone we are sorting our things and donating toys. I am also donating a lot of baby food and other items from my stockpile to the local food pantry and free store in Lebanon.

  • Amy - October 28, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

    My church is also involved in this. Every month there is a different theme for the items for the shoebox. My kids and I are excited about doing this!

  • Anonymous - October 29, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

    On behalf of Franklin Graham, thank you for your continued participation in Operation Christmas Child. This ministry would not be possible without the thousands of individuals and families who participate each year and minister to children around the world.

    Darren Mullenix
    Donor Ministries
    Samaritan’s Purse

  • melissa - October 06, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing this I am going to do this with my 3 year old and 5 year old and let them pick out the stuff for the boxes hopefully it will eventually teach them to always give to those in need and be appreciative of what they have.

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