How to Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

operation christmas child

Happy Monday beauties! I hope you had a lovely weekend and got caught up on any sleep you missed during the week. I had the joy of listing a million things on eBay that I’m trying to get rid of before I move out of my parent’s house for good (see what I listed here).

Since Christmas is coming, I’d like to draw your attention to a wonderful tradition my family has taken part in every year since I can remember: packing Operation Christmas Child boxes. Samaritan’s Purse sponsors an initiative to spread the love of Jesus Christ at Christmas by having members of the community pack small shoe boxes with little trinkets and baubles to send to children in 3rd world countries. I love doing this every year! If you’d like to learn more about how the program works, visit their site. Read on to see what I put in my shoebox this year!

Packing an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

shoebox packing

The first thing I do when packing a shoebox is choose an age group and gender I’d like to buy for. This year, I chose a girl ages 10-14. Typically, this age group is the hardest to buy for but also the most needed in terms of boxes donated.

After I’ve done this, I make a list of things to buy for the box. There are a lot of great things to put in the box, but I’ve found that certain things are best NOT to include even though they make sense to you and I. For example, Play-Doh, the stuff we used to play with as children, shouldn’t be put into a shoebox because children in some parts of the world don’t know what it is or what to do with it. Another example is putting stuffed animals in boxes. Some animals in other cultures symbolize certain things. In a blog post I read from someone who does the shoebox distribution, a little boy got a stuffed owl in his box and in his culture owls were considered a bad omen. Needless to say he was upset by it.

OCC shoebox

Here’s the contents of my box. Most of it I found at Walmart for decent prices. The entire box cost less than $30 and it will be the best gift the child receives all year. To children in first world countries like our own, this box wouldn’t be the least bit impressive to them. For kids who aren’t so lucky, this means a lot.

items for christmas child boxes

The items I usually start with are hygienic in nature. Tooth brush, tooth paste, combs, soap and soap container, and some chapstick. An important thing to include that you might not think of is a tooth brush holder. Some children have to walk to a clean source of water in their village and need a clean place to keep their tooth brush when they’re going to and from the well.

samaritan's purse christmas child

The next things I always include are school supplies. Pens, crayons, and a notebook are great for kids that are school-aged! A clean t-shirt is also a nice addition to any box. I’ve also read where adding a flash light and some batteries is like striking gold for some of these kids and their families if they live in a place without electricity.

Since I’m doing a box for a 10-14 girl, I included some pretty hair ties, a fun bracelet, and some cute socks. Over the summer, I found some deflated beach balls on sale at Michael’s Craft Store to include in my box. Soccer is a cheap sport to play because all you really need is some sort of a ball. Similar to the flashlight, kids love getting these!

I hope you consider doing one of these boxes! You can pick them up at many local churches and Chick fil a is a big sponsor of the program! National collection week is November 16-23. Wherever you picked up your box at, you can drop it off there too. The rest is taken care of by volunteers.

Let me know if you decide to do a box or have questions!

witty n pretty