It’s That Time Again! Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is one of our favorite Christmas activities every year! It is such a fun and tangible way to minister to suffering children around the world alongside your children and family. It is a practical way to get the focus off ourselves and see the great neediness in the world around us. It is a simple way that we can extend God’s love to the nations. And our kiddos can participate each step of the way, from picking out gift items, to writing cards and letters to the child, to wrapping, to praying, and finally to seeing the destination of the boxes. You can track your gifts and see what country your shoe box went to, which provides fun interaction and educational experiences with your children as you can discuss the country, the needs, and geography. This is one way to give your children a heart for the world. Watch the promo videos together and all your hearts will be touched.

Operation Christmas ChildI cannot encourage your family more to participate in this awesome project! Last year, I shared how I heard back from a child I had sent a shoe box to nearly ten years before. I got to see firsthand the impact of that gift. Read more of Meryl’s story here.

Collection week is November 12-19, 2012. Find out more information, drop spots, how to track your gift, and more here.

Need some ideas of what to package in your shoe box?

Check out this post: 101 Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Ideas

Here are the items we packaged in our boxes this year during our trip to Target:

Boy (2-4 years)- small monster truck, small bouncy balls, crayons, coloring pad, short sleeve t-shirt (these are all on clearance now, so a great time to get something nice for a great price), slinky, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, washcloth, candy

Girl (5-9 years) – hair bands, my little pony, small stuffed animal, crayons, coloring pad, candy, short sleeve t-shirt, fingernail polish, toiletry items (as listed above)

Girl (10-14 years) – barbie doll, coloring pencils, sketch pad, short sleeve t-shirt, cute head band, hairbrush, fingernail polish, cute socks, toiletry items

And the kids loved drawing a picture and writing a special message to each of the children which adds a personal touch from our heart to theirs.

Will you join us in bringing the love of Christ to children around the world?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

18 Responses to It’s That Time Again! Operation Christmas Child

  1. robin December 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    This is a wonderful ministry! I had the blessing of working in the warehouse in the Atlanta area with my teenagers this year. It was an amazing experience and we will hopefully do it again next year. We learned so much about packing a box (and we’ve done the boxes for several years now).

    One thing that stands out is this: if you can use the boxes Samaritan’s Purse provides, more boxes can go into one giant packing box. This is really important for the best use of the shipping containers. So, even if you think it would be nice to use a boot box or a large plastic box, that takes up more room in the shipping box and can mess us the numbers and it may mean a child shows up to the party and doesn’t get a box.

    Also, each box is inspected (this was my job in the line). I had to take out anything liquid — shampoo, lotions, hand sanitizer, bubbles, etc. Anything glass (snow globes, jars) had to go. Food items that are not hard candy — cereal bars, cereal, cookies — those had to go too. Unfortunately, I saw some used toys that were dirty or faded. I had to take those out too.

    The good news is that approximately 8 million children will receive a box and with it the gospel message! And let me tell you, those boxes are prayed over in the warehouse. So thankful for this ministry!

  2. Priscilla November 24, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    I’m not sure nail polish is an item to include. Recently while standing in line at the USPS office I saw nail polish included in something not to ship as it is flammable.

  3. Nisha November 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    We dropped off our shoe box this morning! This was our first time participating in OCC, it was surely a joy! I hope we will are able to donate more shoe boxes next year!

  4. bobbie November 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Is nailpolish OK? It says on the website no glass, have you found some in a plastic container?

  5. Joke November 14, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    This is awesome Lindsay!
    We did something similar when I was a kid in my home country. I should check if we can still do it! Still fun being an adult :-)

  6. Heather November 9, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Hey Lindsay, I have been following you for a long time. I love your site and have the same kind of mind that you do in a lot of things. I wanted to pass the word about a blogspot that I just set up. I have been writing about my life’s journey with the Lord, a journey to becoming a “sweetly broken” child of God, and I just finished the book and put it on a blog for free. It is my hope and prayer that God can use it to speak to others, too, and to help them in their journey drawing nearer to Him in a more authentic way. Anyway, I know that you have a lot of godly women following your blog and so I wanted to know if you’d pass on the address. It’s at
    In a section on “Why This Book is Free” I also highlight the organization that does Operation Christmas Child – Samaritan’s Purse. They send out catalogs at Christmas time where you can “order” gifts for the less fortunate: food and medical supplies, chickens and fruit trees so they can make a living, clean water kits, etc. It is such a great organization and I would love to spread the word and get people interested in supporting them. And so it’s great to see that you are spreading the word, too. Keep up your wonderful blog. It is such an inspiration. – Heather

  7. Stefanie November 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Thanks for the great ideas Lindsay!! Walgreens is a great place to get a good price on fun toys like 3 toys for $13.00. Also I have heard it is good to pack things in a plastic shoe box container so that they have a water proof container that they can reuse and store things in. I hope to do this with my girls. It is so important for them to understand that this is the season of giving.

  8. Jeannie November 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    The $1 bins at Target were a wonderful spot for a slinky, kazoo, paper, pencil, yo-yo, stickers, coloring book, and even a metal triangle (for music)…we actually had to much for our box :( But, it was great fun stuffing it for a little boy.

  9. leesa November 5, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    You can get those printed shoe boxes probably from a church organization that is participating or from the Salvation Army itself. Our church makes this Wednesday night fellowship every year. We have a lot of dollar stores around here in Texas like Dollar Tree, Dollar General, 99cent stores etc. so we get most of our items from there which comes out a bit cheaper than Target and Walmart. You can buy a bunch of combs or soap bars, toys and packages of school supply items for $1. Our family makes this part of our Christmas giving so we do a few. We don’t exchange Christmas presents with the other adults in our family and give our kids 1 or 2 Christmas gifts (usually something hand made) and that’s it. -Leesa

  10. Sheri November 5, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    We also love doing shoe boxes each year! I try to collect some things throughout the year as they are on sale or clearanced so that we are able to do more boxes. It is amazing how fast they fill up! Last year we had someone who volunteered throughout the year with Operation Christmas Child come and speak to our MOPS group. She said the most important things for kids were pencils and toothbrushes. She suggested putting in extra toothbrushes for the child’s family, something I never thought of. Also she said that for many kids having a pencil was the difference between being able to go to school and not. She said they are prized possessions for many kids and to put in a handful. I always thought of these as the “boring” things in the box, but I will be putting many more in from now on.

    • Tara November 6, 2012 at 6:25 am #

      We did a large gift drive for the homeless shelter in our area last year, and it was amazing how many of the older youth chose personal hygiene items and clothes. These might seem like boring gifts, but they mean so much to those that are without. We are no longer living in the U.S. so we will miss out on the shoe boxes this year. Our family has had a lot of fun in the past with them. We love to give gifts through the Samaritans purse.

    • Stefanie November 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      Great to know! Thanks!

  11. cassie petersen November 5, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    question: where did you get the shoe boxes pictured? i don’t keep empty shoe boxes but would love to do this!

    • Lindsay November 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      I ordered them directly from Samaritans purse for our church, but many times they have them available at the local drop spot. I have also gone to Payless or any shoe store and asked for their extra empty boxes. They usually have many available and are happy to give them.

  12. Rebekah November 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    When I was young and my family and I were missionaries in Eastern Europe, Operation Christmas Child was a blessing for us and other young children from church! It was SO exciting to get a package for Christmas and wonder what’s inside. Most often it was the only Christmas gift many kids would get. It was really nice to know that another child in America had thoughtfully filled a box just for you. And the personal notes and pictures were wonderful!

  13. Kika November 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    One of my pastors (I think that is where I heard this?) mentioned last Sunday that apparently for older boys, tools kits are very useful. At that age many boys, if they have the tools, can begin small businesses or working/helping out. I imagine this is also a neglected age group b/c it is harder to buy for. Also, instead of using the SP shoe boxes, using a strong plastic container with fitted lid is nice since it can be resused by the recipient for a long time as opposed to the cardboard box which probably won’t last as long.

    Great ministry and I agree that it brings great joy to fill these boxes with out children. My kids tend to fill a box for their same gender and age group.

    • Kika November 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      with *our children

    • Tara November 6, 2012 at 6:28 am #

      Great ideas! I will have to share it with my mother. I know she won’t be able to do much this year, but perhaps throughout the coming year she can stock up when Sears and Home Depot have sales. I would have never thought of tools. Thanks!