Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Christmas Gifts
Every year my family chooses a charity or project to do some service together during the holidays. We came across Operation Christmas Child a few years ago and had such a great time, we've done it ever since! If you haven't heard of it yet, I'd love to introduce you to this fabulous opportunity. If you have, I hope I can answer some questions and get you excited to start packing shoeboxes!
National Collection Week November 14-21 2022
Mark Your Calendar for the THIRD Week of November each year as the shoebox National Collection Week.
What is Operation Christmas Child?
Founded in 1993 Operation Christmas Child was developed to bring hope and Christmas cheer to children all over the world all inside the compact space of a shoebox. Why shoeboxes? They are easy to pack and transport, plus these boxes are often repurposed in recipient homes making the box part of the gift. Over the years this US based program has expanded with drop off locations nation wide, their own printed shoeboxes, and retail partners like Hobby Lobby. Read on to find out more….
Who Runs Operation Christmas Child?
Operation Christmas Child is run by Samaritan's Purse, a non-profit organization managed by a non-denominational evangelical church. Their mission statement pretty much sums it up:
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How Do I Pack A Christmas Shoebox?
The quick answer to those questions is all listed in the pamphlet above.
- Find a shoebox
- Purchase a “Wow” toy
- Fill it with other fun and helpful items
- Add a note & photo if desired
- Include a $9 donation for a label you can track
- Then drop it off during the THIRD WEEK OF NOVEMBER
For more in-depth info and suggestions on How to pack a Christmas Shoebox – you can read about our recommendations HERE.
Where Can I Drop the Shoeboxes Off?
Each year brings more donations and with them the need for additional drop-off locations. Local Christian churches from many denominations volunteer their space and volunteer helpers to accept your Christmas shoebox donations. There are SIX drop-off locations within 20 miles of my house. If you live in a metropolitan area, there's sure to be several close to you as well.
Find your nearest Shoebox Christmas drop-off location
The location we go to is well marked with a flag and a-frame parking signs. Donation dates early in the week aren't too busy but evenings on the last days are quite busy and parking can be hard. So I recommend packing your boxes and doing your drop off early.
If you live further out with no access to a drop-off location but you still want to donate, you can build a shoebox all online. The miracles of modern technology make doing something great so easy!
Christmas Shoebox Donation Process
Grab your packed Christmas shoeboxes and head to your drop-off location. Mark whether your gift is for a boy or girl and the gift's intended age range.
You can choose to add a recommended $9 donation for a label that will track your box and let you know which country your gift ends up. It also helps to cover the shipping cost and other operational expenses. You can purchase and download one HERE or get labels at your drop-off location.
If you're in a hurry just drop it and go. If you can stay for a minute, there are a few fun resources to make your experience even better!
Additional Operation Christmas Child Resources
While you're waiting children can fill out a cute “Let's Be Friends” coloring page to let the recipient know who is thinking about them. I like to have my kids do these prior to drop-off though so they can actually color the pages. To make things easier, I've made them available for you to download here:
Let's Be Friends Coloring Pages
Enjoy A Christmas Treat
I don't know if all locations do this or just ours, but they offer hot cider and cookies for all volunteers and donors. It's worth a shot to go as a family and check it out just in case!
Snap A Pic Before You Go!
And before you leave with your hearts and tummies full, you can snap a quick photo in the Christmas box photo booth and document the start of a new family tradition!
How Many Shoeboxes are in Operation Christmas Child?
Since Samaritan's Purse began Operation Christmas Child in 1993, 198 MILLION shoeboxes have been delivered to children around the world! It's so exciting to think that our little boxes will be part of it all and bring a smile to the face of a child that may never have received a gift before.
Where to Get Operation Christmas Child Boxes?
If you're as excited about this project as I am and you want to get started on packing a few Christmas shoeboxes of your own, start with finding yourself a great box. Hobby Lobby carries plastic red and green shoeboxes earmarked for Operation Christmas Child but any shoebox size box will work. You can even make your own! Clear plastic bins can be picked up at dollar stores, Walmart, and Target.
Then figure out what you'd like to fill it with. I've got a list of gift suggestions to help make it easier for you HERE – How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox.
National Collection Week November 14-21 2022
Mark Your Calendar for the THIRD Week of November each year as the shoebox National Collection Week. Find your nearest drop-off location and start collecting gift items now so you're ready! You can pack one box or several boxes. You can even host a packing party for your friends, neighbors, or church family. The “season of giving” is such a wonderful time to reflect on all we have, and Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Christmas Gifts are a wonderful way to express that gratitude.
Please let me know if you decide to donate a shoebox this year. I'd love to see photos of your boxes and your family at your drop-off.
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Looking for more family service opportunities?
- Light The World This Christmas
- What To Do With Unused Hotel Toiletries
- School Food Pantry Service Project
- How to Pack a Christmas Shoebox Holiday Donation
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Our church has done this for several years now. It’s always fun.
Yay! It’s such a fabulous organization and I love knowing that we’re bringing a little light to children somewhere in the world.
I love giving back during the holidays!
Thank you for highlighting this wonderful family service opportunity! I just checked and this program’s available in my area! I think I’ll get a group together to create some shoebox gifts!
This is such a wonderful organization! I’ve made their boxes in the past and plan to this year as well. Thank you for sharing!
What a great way of giving back! I bet this makes so many little ones happy. I never heard about this so thank you for sharing.
Such a fabulous cause! I used to make these with the boys! And I love how you can do them online now!! How wonderful!!