How much JOY can you fit in a SHOE BOX???

The answer:  A TON!!

A quick note:  I always feel uncomfortable talking about service/charitable donations with others.  Just like with possessions, WE DO NOT NEED TO COMPARE, “keep up with the Jones”, etc. when it comes to giving.  Each family must decide for themselves how much they can afford and want to give.  But even though it makes me slightly uncomfortable to share, I will because I think this is a worthy cause and hope to inspire at least one person/family to consider this giving opportunity.  I hope others will see it as a call to action, which is how its intended:)

Our church participates in Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse.  Our family had planned to participate last year but ended up not doing so.  I could blame it on three small kids, moving homes on Dec. 16th, etc. but really I just didn’t prioritize it.  THIS WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN!!  This is a great new Thanksgiving/Christmas family tradition.

A quick description (in my own words) – you fill a shoebox with stuff (toys, toiletries, etc.) either yourself or online.  Samaritan’s Purse gets it to a child in another country that needs it.  Pretty simple –  yet such an amazing blessing (both to the recipient and the giver.)

Was it easy to do on my end?  Not really – three children who are 5 and under shopping for “cool” stuff for people other than themselves is not extremely enjoyable.  The difficulty just corralling the two girls (5 & 3) is one thing (Little Man was in the cart) but having them help select stuff was somewhat problematic.  For example, Miss Silly (5) was adamant that we should send “our friends that need stuff” a princess dollhouse that was HUGE and cost $140:)  The message I kept repeating – it has to fit IN the box and be the right price for our family.

So, what did we include?  I figured I’d include a list (with prices) to show a) how much stuff truly fits in a shoebox (amazing) and b) that with only a small monetary investment you can bring joy to a child (or children) each Christmas.

Girl Box (2-4 years) & (5-9 years) 

  • 1 plastic box ($1)
  • 6 washcloths ($1.50 – 18 pk for $4)
  • 3 bars of soap ($1.25)
  • 2 toothbrushes ($1.25)
  • toothpaste ($1)
  • 4 combs ($1 – 10+ for $3)
  • hair elastics ($1)
  • barrettes ($1.25)
  • 1 big baby doll ($4)
  • 1 small baby doll ($1)
  • 1 baby rattle (for the baby dolls:) ($1)
  • 1 baby bottle (for the baby dolls:) ($1)
  • 1 box of crayons ($1.25)
  • 1 small notebook ($1)
  • 1 solar calculator ($1)
  • 1 long-sleeve (super girly;) shirt ($4)

Boy Box (2-4 years)

  • 1 plastic box ($1)
  • 6 washcloths ($1.50 – 18 pk for $4)
  • 3 bars of soap ($1.25)
  • 2 toothbrushes ($1.25)
  • toothpaste ($1)
  • 4 combs ($1 – 10+ for $3)
  • 1 dinosaur ($1)
  • 3 play cars ($5)
  • 1 small baby doll ($1)
  • 1 box of crayons ($1.24)
  • 1 small notebook ($1)
  • 1 long-sleeve shirt ($4)

We did try to include some items in each box that could easily be shared with any siblings since I didn’t know if all siblings receive boxes.

The pictures happen to be from the 4th – only ones I had available:)

You also can include an “All About Me” page with some basic information about your child.  If you want you can include your address in hopes of receiving a letter in return.  I hope we get at least one letter back – I know the girls would be thrilled!

Since putting these together I have thought numerous times how much excitement my kids would get from receiving one of these boxes AND THEY HAVE A TON OF STUFF!!  Imagine this excitement and then multiply it by who knows how much:)  I hope the excitement of the children that receive our boxes brings joy to those around them and lifts up the spirits of their families and/or care-givers.

What can you do??  National Collection Week ends today for physical box collection but if you feel like helping this year you can click here to build-a-box.  If that doesn’t work for you please Pin or bookmark Operation Christmas Child for next year.

Thanks for taking a look!

Blue Skies, Pumpkin Pies, & Blessings,



2 thoughts on “How much JOY can you fit in a SHOE BOX???

  1. Katie Rotz says:

    I’ve done this several times with my MOPS group, but this was the first year we did it as a family. Definitely a new tradition for us too!

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