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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for Less than $15

How to Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox on a Budget for Less Than $15 - Samaritan's Purse Charity Gift Ideas


I know you might not be thinking about Christmas yet, however, we wanted to share a little bit of Christmas spirit today as we share one of our favourite annual traditions. 

You see, both Jesse and I were really lucky as children. We celebrated Christmas with our family, opened presents with great big smiles and went to bed with full tummies - but not all of the kids in the world are so lucky. 

Operation Christmas Child is one of our favourite charity initiatives as it not only gives gifts to children in need - but also shares the greatest gift of all with them; the Gospel and the knowledge of God's unconditional love for them. 

Each year Jesse and I excitedly await the arrival of OCC boxes at our church and the same day we pick them up, you'll find us at our local shopping centre pushing a trolley full of gifts that we can't wait to pack away. 

But whilst we love packing shoeboxes each year - my heart also aches when I hear people tell me that they won't even consider it. Often times it's that people are too busy, however, one reason I have heard from many people in the past is that Christmas time is expensive and they just don't have the extra money to spare. 

And that's why I wanted to share this post with you. Christmas time may be expensive, however, there's no excuse to skip out on sharing joy this Christmas when you can do it for less than $15. Now, don't get me wrong! I'm not telling you to be cheap when giving with this post, I'm simply trying to show you that just a little bit from you can mean the world to someone in need.

So let me tell you How to Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox on a Budget - and share our favourite gift ideas! >>



How to Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

First things first, how do you get involved? Operation Christmas Child is an international effort - meaning you can send a shoebox from anywhere in the world! 

How to Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

First you need to start with a shoebox. It can be an OCC branded shoebox (you'll find these at local churches and/or drop off points for OCC) or a regular old shoebox or gift box that's the same size as a shoebox. 

How to Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

Second you need to decide who you're packing for. You can choose a Boy or Girl between the age ranges of 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. 

You'll find all the instructions you need at the following links, according to which country you're in; 
At the above links you'll find all the instructions you need PLUS the links to print off your shoebox labels and donate towards the shipping and delivery of the boxes. When you donate the shipping money for your boxes, you're also given a tracking code so you can find out exactly where in the world your gifts went! 

Shoeboxes are collected in the US, Australia, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Spain and the UK.

What To Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

Now we've got all of that out of the way, let's talk about what to pack. Operation Christmas Child make it really easy by asking that you pack one of the following in each box. 
  • Something to Wear 
  • Something to Play with 
  • Something for School 
  • Something Special 
  • Something for Hygiene 
  • Something to Love 
This ensures that every child gets a collection of special gifts that give them a mix of both practical and fun items. 

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Gift Ideas

When choosing for the Something to Wear category you want to look at things like clothes (tshirts, shorts, dresses, skirts), hats, underwear, socks etc. 

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Things to Wear Gift Ideas

If you're packing on a budget, this doesn't need to cost you any more than $5. At Kmart we found printed tshirts for $3.50-$4.50, Boys and Girls underwear for $5 for 6 pairs (which could even be split amongst two boxes) or $3 for 3 pairs, Socks for $1 and Hats for $3 amongst many other items. 

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Things to Wear Gift Ideas

When we pack our shoeboxes each year, we actually head straight to the sleepwear section. Why? Because they usually have "sleepwear sets" that are just shorts and a tshirt paired together. We then look for sets which aren't sleep related and pop them in our box - that way the children who receive our boxes have a whole outfit! This is usually less than $10 per set (Kmart currently have them for $7) and we pair them with a hat so they're sun safe too!

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Play Gift Ideas

When choosing something for the Something to Play With section you want to look for things like dolls, balls, cars, boats, finger puppets, skipping ropes, yoyos, dolls etc. 

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Something to Play With

We found plenty of gift ideas for this section under $2 at Kmart and other stores.  We usually buy a big box of speedballs (which are kind of like bouncy balls only bigger than a tennis ball) and put one in each box along with a toy car for a little boy, a little doll or a skipping rope for a girl or whatever else we can fit in the box!

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - School Gift Ideas

When choosing something for the Something for School section, you want to look at things like exercise books, crayons, pencils, markers, sharpeners, erasers, chalk etc.

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Things for School Gift Ideas

We found all of these items for under $2. We tend to have a look for stationery gift packs which are usually around (or under $5) and includes pencils, a sharpener, a notebook and a pencil case. You can also find exercise books for around 10-15 cents each so they're the perfect thing to add in!

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Hygiene  Gift Ideas

When choosing something for the personal hygiene section you need to remember that you can't send things like toothpaste, shampoo or bubbles that will leak.

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Personal Hygiene Gift Ideas

The suggested gifts for this section are hairbrushes, combs, toothbrushes, soap and a face washer, hair ties, hair clips etc. We usually put in a hair brush/comb and a tooth brush (you can find bulk packs of these for <$2) and all of the pictured gift ideas were under $2.


What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Love Shopping List Gift Ideas

When choosing for the Something to Love section - think back to when you were a kid. What toys or items did you cherish?  

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Something to Love Gift Ideas


All of these gift ideas were under $3. We usually include a soft toy or a doll as what kid doesn't love a furry friend to snuggle with? 


What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Special  Gift Ideas

When choosing for the Something Special section of your box, we tend to put the things we thought of for the something to love section that just weren't cuddly enough :P 

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox - Special  Gift Ideas



These are those little treasures that kids love. All of the above ideas are less than $2 (with the exception of the blanket which was $5). You want to put things like sunglasses, bracelets, jewellry, trinkets, bags, stickers or a soft cuddly blanket (our challenge is always fitting these in - we usually buy small but snuggly blankets from the baby section). 

Also, make sure you put in a note in from yourself. We usually draw a picture and put a photo of us inside as we don't know if the person who receives it will be able to read our note, however, this just shows how much you care!

Share the Joy

And that's all there is to it! Pack up your shoebox, pay for the shipping and attach your shipping labels, drop it off at your local drop off location (see the website links at the top for more details on that) and your gift will soon be on it's way!

Plus, you have no excuse not to pack a shoebox now that I've shown you that you can do it for under $15. If you don't have $15 to spare - team up with a friend to pack it or go without one of the below so someone else can receive.

All of the below would cost you $15; 
  • 3-4 cups of coffee from a cafe or takeaway shop. 
  • 2 visits to a fast food place or 1 meal at a restaurant/cafe 
  • 1 movie ticket 
  • 1 pair of cheap sunglasses
  • 1 bottle of wine 
  • 1 takeaway pizza
The list goes on and on. Basically, I'm telling you that it's really not that hard to share the joy this Christmas - so what are you waiting for?!

But tell me, what was the best Christmas gift as a child? 
And what was your favourite item as a child? 
It could be a teddy bear, a special blanket, a bag you had to bring everywhere, a jingly jangly set of bangles - the list goes on and on.

Also, let me know if you'd like to find out some other easy ways you can share joy this Christmas. This is NOT a sponsored post - just something we wanted to share!

    
   


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