Operation Christmas Child

November 9th, 2012

As part of our ongoing efforts to introduce our kiddos to the concept of philanthropy, this year Miss Mouse and I packed a box for Operation Christmas Child.  I wanted to do it last year and got lazy.  This year, it was game on.

Do you know about Operation Christmas Child?  Super cool.  It’s a project by an organization called Samaritan’s Purse and the concept is simple and brilliant: you pack a shoe-box full of toys and gifts for a child and Operation Christmas Child delivers the boxes all over the world.  This year, they’ll be delivering their 100 millionth box.

You pick a gender and an age bracket (2-4, 5-9, 10-14) and then have license to get creative.  They ask that you not include meltable sweets or weapon toys but beyond that, you’re pretty much on your own.  You’re asked to make a $7 donation to cover the cost of delivery and there are drop-off locations all over the country.

I have enjoyed reading blogs by some serious OCC families – folks who spend all year shopping and have elevated packing those shoe-boxes to an art form.  One lady did a video outlining how they filled 45 boxes for $45.  The woman is a whiz at couponing.

I spent $30 on our one little box.  But I was fine with that.  I’ll plan ahead more next year.

This time, Miss Mouse and I hit the dollar store together and picked out all sorts of goodies.  Starburst candy, crayons, stickers, hair bling, princess shoes, Elmo pajamas, and a Christmas board book all went into our box.  On the one hand, it’s all junk.  On the other hand, to a kid who has never gotten a Christmas present before, it’ll be amazing.  I hope to do better next year in terms of getting a few more “quality” presents — like clothing I can find on clearance.

Miss Mouse did well.  There was a certain amount of – “I want this and this and this and this” – that accompanied our shopping trip, but I expected that and came prepared to bargain.  Miss Mouse left the store with a new set of stickers, a package of hair ties, and a container of nail polish.  Good deal.

But she totally “got” the concept that we were shopping for presents for a little girl who wouldn’t otherwise get any at Christmas.

She sprinted up and down the aisles, grabbing things she liked and returning to me to ask — “Can we get this for our Christmas Child?”  It was really very sweet.

I decided Buggie was too little to participate this year but look forward to expanding the project to the whole family next year and for many years to come!

7 responses to “Operation Christmas Child”

  1. Debbie A. says:

    Kate, You have inspired me with your efforts. I am going to take my grandson to shop for a box today. What fun along with a wonderful way to give.

  2. Papu says:

    What a lovely idea. I’m so glad she “gets it.”

  3. Isa says:

    This inspired me, too! I found a local charity that does an adopt-a-family program, so am now anxiously (what do you MEAN they don’t go in on weekends to assign families!?) awaiting the wishlist so I can get at it. I figure Edie won’t be very into it for the next couple years, but it used to be something I did as a kid and I’d really like to revive the tradition. :)

    • Kate says:

      Awesome! I love doing that sort of activity. We’ll probably do something like “adopt-a-family” when the kids get older. There’s something neat about buying specific gifts for a particular child. Very personal. Enjoy!!

  4. […] friends report that they’d had trouble “selling” their kids on participating in Operation Christmas Child because the kids couldn’t understand the concept of a gift-less Christmas.  After all, […]

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