October 19, 2012

Operation Christmas Child 2012

I love the Christmas season. All the joy, anticipation, family events, calories, and sweet moments with the Savior. Of course let's be honest, receiving gifts would have to be included in that list as well. Everyone likes to get presents. Equally, there's joy in giving gifts to others, and Operation Christmas Child is just one of many ministries that provides that opportunity.

Here's why I love it though: Children who in all likelihood wouldn't get Christmas gifts are blessed with a box full of new treats and goodies (as well as the message of the Gospel), and I get to go shopping for toys, which not gonna lie, I really enjoy (and probably have way too much fun doing). Here are a few of my ideas and tips.

What to Pack: 1. School and Art Supplies (Notepads/books, Coloring Books, Crayons, Colored Pencils, Pencil Sharpeners, Erasers, Pencils, Play-Dough, Pencils Bags/Holders, and Stickers) 2. Hygienic Items (Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Wash Cloth, Bars of Soap, Brush/Comb, Hair Accessories, Chapstick). 3. The Fun Stuff! (Dolls, Stuffed Animals, Balls, Jump Ropes, Puzzles, T-Shirts, Flip-Flops, Socks, Sunglasses, Play Jewelry, Hot Wheel Cars/Trucks/Trains, Blocks, Slinky, Mini Etch A Sketch, Glow Sticks,and Other Small Toys) 4. Hard Candy (Individually Wrapped). 

A Couple of Cutting the Cost Tips...
  • Your dentist is probably more than happy to throw in a second free toothbrush/toothpaste in that take-home baggie, which you can include in a shoebox.
  • Collect school supplies during the back to school sales (tax free day especially). You can get boxes of crayons, erasers, pencils, etc. for less than a dollar.
  • Keep an eye out for fun toys and t-shirts at Target when they go on sale. (Usually when you first walk in there's a mini section of trinkets that they're selling for $1, $2.... up to $5, and there are special sales of course after the various holidays throughout the year)
  • Check out the dollar store and see what they have as well. For instance, I picked up that bag of Ring Pops (4 per bag, each one was individually wrapped as well, which is perfect) and my tupperware box while there (which is practical since it can be used for storage later on).
  • Buy in bulk. Certain items such as bouncy balls, play dough, pencils, and erasers can be bought in bulk either during the back to school sales or at your local party planning store, which can then be divided into more than one box.
  • And then I usually like to splurge a little on a couple of items (usually the toys) ;) Which yeah, I know it's not cost effective necessarily, but I think it's nice to have a couple of "nicer" items too. For instance, one year I snagged a couple of mini lego sets for less than $5, which is pretty good when you consider that one of those is usually double that amount. 

Finally, include a small not or card with some encouraging words and reminders that you're praying for that child who received your box (plus the shipping fee, $7 via check or online, in which case you can track your package), and take it to the nearest drop-off location between November 12-19th. 

So this is just one of many ways you can share the gospel with those in a different country, and personally, I think it's a great tradition to participate in. If you want to learn more as well as get more details on packing boxes (i.e. what not to include, drop off locations, etc.) check out Operation Christmas Child's website here. Now get shopping and packing people =)


  1. interesting that you just posted about this. the church i've been going to just talked about it this morning! :)

  2. When I was younger we used to pack our shoe boxes together as a family, it is a tradition I am hoping to start next year with my kids. It is such a great way to teach children that there are others who do not have as much as them. Back when I was in grade 11 my class went on a missions trip to Grenada and had the amazing opportunity to hand out Operation Christmas Child boxes to the kids. It was one of the best experiences in my life. They truly treasured their boxes.


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