One of my favorite things that happens this time of year is Operation Christmas Child!  I don’t know if its the thought of kids across the world not getting to experience the elation that comes from getting something new.  Or, my sheer love of giving gifts, but I love the partnership of Operation Christmas Child.

This morning at church was the final Sunday to turn in boxes and it was amazing watch all the elves work their magic.  As quickly as you could set your box on the table, they were making sure it was labeled and marked to head off to the workshop. 

I noticed that several boxes had one thing that none of my boxes had – a barcode.  Curious what it was, I did a little research when I got home.  For a special $7 donation, you can track where in the world your box(es) go. What an amazing journey to celebrate with your family to see where in the world you boxes go…kinda like Waldo – but totally different!

So, what if you’ve never packed a box and want to get involved?  I know, look at these sweet faces! 


I love preparing for Operation Christmas Child.  I actually prepare all year long…seem kinda crazy?  Well, here are some of my tips and things I do throughout the year to prepare for my boxes.

  • Since I collect all year, my rule is that is has to be $1 or less.  Preferably less!
  • I like to walk through the bargain/clearance aisle at Target, Walmart and Walgreens all year long.
  • I hit the stocking stuffer aisle the day after Christmas.  My mom, sister and I usually spend Dec 26 getting all kinds of bargains and my favorite items are the ones for my OCC boxes.  I usually find the items that are multiple things for one price. 
  • Walgreens is another great spot, especially after Valentine’s Day! 
  • Easter basket items are usually just the right size.  This year I found some super cute little rabbit and chick friends that were 75% off
  • Back to school sales are great too – pens, pencils, notepads, markers and crayons.  My mom and sister are both teachers and get lots of freebies at different stores.  Both of them are great about saving items I can use and they don’t need.
  • Since its so close to the time I pack the boxes, I usually get a couple bags of hard candy off the Halloween candy sale.  Suckers are the best!  Safe for kids of all ages, don’t melt in the transportation and usually make the trip over the big pond!
  • I keep the extra soap from hotel rooms when I’m traveling.
  • My favorite is when I can use a coupon for a travel size deodorant and get it for FREE.
  • This year, I also saw posted on a freebie blog some ideas for home school moms to get community helper coloring and activity books.  So, I reached out and snagged a few of those for my boxes this year.

So, how do you pack a shoe box?  Here are some things I included in mine this year:
-coin purses
-hello kitty chap stick
-polka dot pencils, paper mate pens, some random pens from a doctor’s office that my mom got at a teacher’s fair
-rings and bracelets
-snowflake note pads
-little heart boxes
-random crayons
-sonic wacky pack toys
-random hotel bars of soap
-hair clips and Tinkerbelle hair ties
-fireman, nurse and police officer coloring books
-mickey mouse sucker and mummy Mike and Ike
-tooth brushes I picked up at a health fair 2 weeks ago

You can see.  We take a lot of things for granted that many would consider a “gift”.  So many things make the perfect item.  (here are some other ideas)

Whatever you do, pray for the children who receive these boxes and that they know someone that packed that little box loves this and had the best time packing up their little gift!

This week is national collection week and you can still participate – check out your closest drop off spot and make a kids day!