Looking for a great Christmas giving opportunity? Operation Christmas Child is a charitable giving outreach ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. Each year around Thanksgiving, thousands of boxes are shipped to domestic and foreign missions. Here’s a list of items to put in your Operation Christmas Child holiday gift box. To participate in Operation Christmas Child, all you need to do is fill a large shoebox with items for a child. Indicate the gender and age of the child you’ve packed for on the shipping label (click here to print one). You are asked to include a check for $7, made out to OCC to cover shipping and handling costs. Last simply drop off your box to your local church or look up the nearest drop off location near you. Need to find a donation or drop off site near you? Click here. Now about that list of goodies for your Operation Christmas Child friend:
Let’s begin with a list of items to avoid:
Books with words (It’s difficult to know what country will receive your OCC box. The child receiving the box may not speak the language in which the book is written. He may also not be able to read yet.) Picture books are nice, however.
— Liquid items that may spill
— Fragile items that may break
— Glass items
— War toys, guns, weapons (Many of these children have seen enough war to last a lifetime.)
— Perishable food items that will spoil
— Battery operated toys (unless you add extra batteries in the correct size)
— Comb and brush
— Chapstick or lip balm
— Personal care and hygiene items: toothbrush and toothpaste, wash cloth and towel
— Hair toys, ribbons, pony tails, barettes for girls.
— Jewelry for girls
— Small ball, jump rope, chinese jump rope, ball and jacks, paddle ball
— Markers, crayons, pens, pencils and notebook or paper for drawing (I like to add a 10-Color pen if I can find one; all those cool colors in one handy pen.)
— Sordless religious images (Just one or two; don’t fill the whole box. Children want playthings at Christmas.)
— Small notepad
— Scissors, chalk, glue, tape, stapler and staples
— Free standing, assembled toys (By this I mean send toys that can be enjoyed without requiring anything that the child may not have access to.) Slinky, Etch a Sketch, puzzle games work well.
— Pocket-sized games, especially games that require no reading and can be played alone
— Deflated playgound ball with pocket-sized hand pump or needle inflator
— Socks, slippers
— Hat, cap or scarf
— Coloring books
— Dolls (Choose a variety of skin tones and hair styles, please, not just the blond-haired, blue-eyed dolls. Also look for dolls that are age-appropriate. Barbie dolls are acceptable, but dolls like Polly Pockets and Groovy Girls are more child-friendly.)
— Toy vehicles, motorcycles, airplanes, boats, trains, trucks and cars like Matchbox and Hot Wheels
— Small packages of Lego bricks (Legos come with picture instructions.)
— Modeling clay, Moon Sand, Silly Putty, Wiki Stix (Choose art clay that does not dry out.)
— Dried fruit, nuts, hard candy
I suggest that you explain to your child what your are doing and bring her along to help shop. Once she understands what you are doing, she’ll have lots of great ideas. I like how Samaritan’s Purse reminds us to say a prayer for the child who will receive our boxes. Visit the Samaritan’s Purse website here for details.