Thursday, 17 November 2016

Operation Christmas Child #1

Last year, I started my own little tradition of taking part in an absolutely wonderful charity project, a shoebox appeal, by an organisation called Samaritan's Purse. Every Autumn, people from all over the world join in with the 'Operation Christmas Child' project by putting together a shoebox filled with Christmas goodies to be sent to children in poverty- and war-striken countries. You can check out my shoebox from last year here. Lots of people seem to have made these at Primary School which is lovely (did you?), but my school never took part. Although it's too late for you to put together your own shoebox for Operation Christmas Child as the deadline is tomorrow, I thought it would be good to share about the project with you all. Hopefully, some of my readers will decide to join in aswell for 2017's shoebox appeal. Enjoy!

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal

The first step to making up your own Christmas shoebox is to decide if you want to send it to a girl or a boy, and then you have to choose one of the age categories: 2-4 years, 6-9 and 10-14. You can send as many boxes as you want, however for each you need to pay a £3 donation fee to fund the shipping of the box. It's super easy to pay online on the Samaritan's Purse website, but you can also pop a cheque for £3 inside your box if you prefer. If you pay online too, they will send you an email to let you know whereabouts your shoebox may have been sent, although I found out last year that they don't tell you the exact country which a shame just because it would be cool to know :) 

I decided this year to send four shoeboxes, one each for: 2-4 Girl, 5-9 Girl, 5-9 Boy & 10-14 Girl. I didn;t want this post to get too big, so I've decided to share the shoeboxes with you all in two seperate posts. Today's post will be all about the Girl and Boy's 5-9 years old boxes. 

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal

The rules for the Operation Christmas Child project say that you must use no bigger than a medium shoebox. Shoe Zone usually work with this charity project and volunteer as a shoebox drop-off point so if your local store does this, then they will be more than happy to help you out with a shoebox. I also made my best friend search her house for me haha (Thanks Jess!). Firstly, wrap your box in cheerful christmas paper like you would any other Christmas present. Remember this box is going to children who made never have experienced the joy of Christmas or gotten any presents before, so you want to make the experience has wonderful as possible for them :)  

The website has a list of suggestions for the kind of items to include and not to include in your shoeboxes. They specifically ask that you include hygiene products and stationery/school supplies as these are going to be very useful for the children, and then also toys because it is a Christmas present after all! It's recommended that you try to add at least one 'wow item', like a cuddly teddy! I thought it would be easier for me show you photographs of the items I packed into my shoeboxes and then list them underneath, so here goes... 

Christmas Shoebox for a Girl (5-9 years old)

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal

I always include the essential hygiene products such as a toothbrush, toothpaste and a flannel, but this year I decided to include a bar of soap too because I forgot to get them for last year's box. I found the cutest little hello kitty sponges in Savers/Superdrug, and I'm totally gonna get one for myself soon :) I then always look for some hair accessories as they are lovely but also practical. My mum picked up a pack of these mini picture cards for playing snap which are great because they can be easily ended to even the most packed of shoeboxes. Gloves and/or socks are always a good item to add to the shoebox if you have some space left.

I always get the children some colouring items because I don't know a child that doesn't enjoy colouring. Be sure to always include a pencil sharpener, because they won't be able to keep using their crayons otherwise. For toys, I added some kid's jewellery, a mini barbie figure and a little egg thing with a My Little Pony figure in. How awesome are the My Little Pony jigsaws that my mum found in Poundland!? They are perfect for these shoeboxes because they are basically flat and so don't take up much room at all. For the wow-item, I thought I'd give the little girl a plushie that I got in one of my recent Doki Doki subscription boxes because she'll appreciate it more than I will. Finally, I can't not include some sweeties! 

 Christmas Shoebox for a Boy (5-9 years old)

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal

I think the Christmas shoebox that I made up for the little boy is actually my favourite of all of the boxes I've done this year. Mostly because I want some many of the items for myself! I need look at my wow-item, the Cookie Monster plushie; it's so cute! For hygiene products, I included just want I did in the girl's shoebox: a flannel, toothpaste, toothbrush and a bar of soap. He also got sweeties, gloves and the little snap playing cards

I got him this adorable animal colouring book, and some seperate animal stickers. I forgot to mention that I decided that after watching some youtube videos of children opening their Operation Christmas Child boxes, that I'm going to include stickers in all my boxes too. Luckily, the My Little Pony books that I got for the girls have stickers inside. For the toys, I bought a Paw Patrol recorder (PoundWorld), a little monster truck toy (my local pound store), a yoyo and this super awesome wind-up robot that I am literally going to buy myself one of next week haha (from quality save) and I found the mini puzzle still packaged with plastic in a charity shop for 50p. What a bargain! Lastly, I also found this stationery set complete with a tin pencil case, ruler, sharpener, eraser, pencil and notebook, all in a useful plastic case for only £1 in quality! How good is that? :) 

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal

When you've filled up your shoebox, the final thing you have to do is print off the labels provided on the website that state who the box is for and what age group. You should also be able to pick up a leaflet at your local drop-off out (which can be found out on the charities website) which as a label you can cut out on the back of the leaflet. Tape this to the top of your box and it's good to go. Remember to follow the instrutions on the website for what to do if you paid your donation online before taking your shoeboxes to the drop-off point.

Seriously though, how awesome is this project!? I think it's just lovely and I'm so happy to take part and give a present to a child someone in the world. Have a search on youtube to find the cutest videos of some of the children opening their shoeboxes. Warning: you might cry so many happy tears, if you are anything like me. It's beautiful to watch the joy on the children's faces. The first time one of these videos popped up on my facebook news feed, I couldn't not join in after watching it! I hope that lots of my readers what to get involved too! 

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes...

 Thankyou for reading!

Have you ever made a Christmas appeal shoebox? 
If not, are you going to make one next year?

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