How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation
November 2, 2022
Boys art supplies - How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation

How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox

Ever wondered How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox as part of your family Christmas giving? Well, you're in luck! Today I'll take you through a few ideas and things we've learned over the years packing our own Christmas Shoebox gifts. It's a great way to teach your children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews about charitable giving.

If you want to make Christmas more about the GIVING instead of the receiving….let's get started! And be quick because the collection week is the THIRD WEEK OF NOVEMBER each year. And that's coming up fast!

Girls toiletries  - How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation
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WHO to Pack for Christmas Shoeboxes

Gift Suggestions for How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Donation Box

First you want to choose the age and gender of the child you are packing your boxes for. I always like to have my kids pack a box for someone around their own age and gender. It provides a greater chance at purchasing items the child will really enjoy, if your own child would enjoy them too.

If you don't have children at home, think about a grandchild, niece, nephew, or ask a friend or relative with children between the ages of 2 through 14 to help give you some ideas.

Choose a WOW Gift for Your Shoebox

Wow Gift for Packing a Christmas Shoebox Donation

What is a “Wow Gift”? This is something that the child will be particularly excited about. While practical gifts are very important, a “wow gift” helps bring the magic of childhood to your Christmas Shoebox.

Wow gifts can be difficult to choose for your Christmas Shoeboxes because they have to be small, unbreakable, and stay within your budget. The things we've found most successful include:

  • Stuffed Animals – small but good quality, avoid Dollar Store ones
  • Soft Body Dolls – small but good quality, avoid Dollar Store ones
  • Deflated Soccer Ball with Pump is awesome – soccer is played all over the world
  • Games are great – just remember that the child most likely won't speak english – so visual games like Uno, Spot It, Travel Pictionary, Tanagram Puzzle Kits, or a Pack of Face Cards work well
  • Toys – like this Pop It Puzzle, UFO Fidget Spinner, or Legos – but if it has small pieces, pack it in a container to keep the pieces together after opening.
  • Pair of Sneakers with some socks – this higher budget item is often much needed

How to Pack Art Supplies

Art supplies - How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation
Art and Stationary Supplies for a Girl

Art Supplies are a favorite of my own children and it's so easy to find lots of great items to include. We chose chalk over crayons this year because there's a high likelihood of running out of paper for drawing. But with chalk children can color rocks, roads, and sidewalks.

  • Drawing utensils like pencils, pens, crayons, colored pencils, and chalk
  • Small notepads with lines for journaling
  • Small sketch book for drawing
  • Coloring and Activity books
  • Fun stickers
  • Erasers
  • Pencil Sharpener – especially if you've included pencils that need sharpening
  • Pencil Case
Girls art supplies - How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation

And don't forget the pencil case to pack it all up in! It makes for a much more organized gift box.

How to Pack Christmas Shoebox Toiletries

Boy Toiletries for How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Donation
The basics

It's so nice to have some of the basic necessities but many of the toiletries we think of aren't allowed in these boxes. So what CAN we send?

  • New Toothbrush
  • Wash Cloth
  • Brush or Comb
  • Compact mirror – these are much safer and don't have a high risk of breaking
  • Bandaids – a fun addition that most children LOVE to use!
  • Bar of Soap with container
  • Fun Socks
  • Underwear
Girls toiletries - How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation
Little Extras for Girls

There are also a few extra items that would be appreciated by some of the female recipients:

  • Headbands, hair ties, or scrunchies
  • Loofah, or Bath Poof
  • Cute Socks

For Older Girls

  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers and Files {But NO polish}
  • Feminine Hygiene Products

What NOT to Pack for a Christmas Shoebox

How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation

It's easy to get excited when planning your gift ideas. But please keep in mind there are some items they are unable to ship and adding any of these items might cause your whole box to be detained and returned, or worse…..trashed. We don't want your hard work to get ruined! So here's the list of No-no's:

  • Candy, chocolate, or food of any kind – it may melt or be damaged in the hot climates of many recipients, also there are food restrictions in customs for most countries.
  • Used items or anything in poor condition – this seems self-explanatory. Please don't give a kid your garbage for Christmas.
  • Any war related items like toy soldiers or toy guns and knives – many of the areas have experienced political upheaval and fighting. At worst, toy knife or gun could actually put a child at risk of being harmed. At best, it could increase mental distress or trigger PTSD.
  • Seeds: Agricultural Items like seeds are also strictly controlled between borders due to plant illnesses or parasite pests that could be traveling on the seeds.
  • Toothpaste, Liquids, or Lotions: These toiletry items seem like a great idea but anything that can leak and ruin the whole box of gifts is a bad idea.
  • Medications or Vitamins: You wouldn't want a stranger to be giving your child medicine or vitamins, same here. You can't know their medical history and even something as benign as Vitamin C could be harmful under specific circumstances.
  • Breakable or glass items: This is another obvious category. Samaritan's Purse cannot guarantee the box will be treated as fragile. In fact, with so many boxes to move and deliver, it probably will not. So save a child some tears and only send items that'll travel well long distances in iffy shipping conditions.
  • Aerosol cans: These are under pressure and in the right circumstances can explode. We don't want that to happen, so avoid any pressurized cans of anything.

How to Pack an ONLINE Christmas Shoebox

How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation online

If you're interested in sending a Christmas Shoebox for Operations Christmas Child but don't have the time to pull it together before collection week {the 3rd week each November} an online box is a super easy an affordable way to go.

Just head on over to Operation Christmas Child and you can start building a box HERE.

Learn More About Operation Christmas Child

Kids in boxes - Packing Christmas Shoeboxes is fun for kids

Now that you know How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox, do you have any questions? If so, please leave them in the comments. Did I miss something? Or do you feel confident to choose items and pack up a gift box that any child would love!? I hope so. And remember to read more about the mission of Operation Christmas Child and how to drop off your box when you're done with it HERE.

If you donate a Christmas Shoebox or two, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. And if you share photos, I want to see it too! Please tag us @partieswithacause on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. We love celebrating all your hard work! 

Then join me for more intentional holidays all Christmas long!


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How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation

More Family Service Project Ideas:

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gifts

Light The World This Christmas

What To Do With Unused Hotel Toiletries

School Food Pantry Service Project 

Until next time my friend! Signature and photo


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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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