We have had so much fun shopping for and assembling boxes for Operation Christmas Child this year. Each person in our household was assigned a box to shop for (yes, even Dad!). The girls, of course, decided to prepare boxes for girls their own ages. The husband and I chose older boys (I heard that they get fewer boxes for boys ages 10-14 than any other category).
I shopped for a few essentials like hygeine items and school supplies (so I could buy them in bulk and divide them among all four boxes), but the rest was up to each individual.
Both girls had a Christmas jar sitting on their desk since summer that they filled with spare change. They used that and some allowance money to select their shoe box gifts. I was really proud of them–there was no mumbling or grumbling about having to spend their own cash. It was fun to watch them shop because they really thought it through. They were thinking through question like:
- What is most needed?
- What would I like to get if I didn’t have any toys?
- Which is most likely to last longer?
- How can I get the most bang for my buck?
They were excited to help put the boxes together. We discovered that it’s really hard to decorate the plastic boxes, so we had to “think outside the box” (hardy har har) to make it festive.
Yeah, we basically just cut out square pieces of wrapping paper and taped it inside. It’s serious business, though. It takes deep concentration!
We learned a few things this year:
- Purchase hard candies (like Jolly Ranchers or Blow Pops) to hand out for Halloween. Whatever is leftover can be put into shoe boxes (double-wrapped, of course).
- Purchase plastic boxes. It’s too hard to find shoe boxes that have a seperate lid these days, and plastic boxes can be repurposed.
- Decorating plastic boxes is hard. Start thinking about how to remedy this for next year…
- Boxes can be tracked if you pay online. Cool!
- Buy school supplies for shoe boxes when they are on sale in August. I got boxes of crayons for 15 cents during the back-to-school sales. Also, look for sales on t-shirts and flip-flops during end-of-season sales.
Do you have any great tips on shopping for or packing shoe boxes?