Monday, September 22, 2014

Operation Christmas Child

As it is definitely approaching that time of the year again, we have just completed assembling our Operation Christmas Child boxes. I know a version of this post appears every year, but we find it so helpful and so much fun, I just can’t let it go!

Here are some tips I have gathered over the years:
  • See if you can get boxes with the lids still attached, so much easier to keep all together. Keep an eye out for shoe boxes that enter your house throughout the year.
  • Wrap the boxes in Christmas paper and then cover them with clear sticky wrap (contact). The contact makes it look great, the box is sturdier and paper does not rip.
  • Pay your donation for the box shipping cost online ($9 per box), then print out individual bar-coded labels for each box to stick on the lid with a piece of contact. In a few months, you'll get an email telling you where your box went.
  • Take a list with you when you go shopping. This list was prepared by a member of our church who works in the box processing centre, so she really knows what works and what doesn't.
  • Remove all packaging from every item. Including a pencil case makes this much easier - put all the pens, pencils, erasers, etc in the pencil case. There is no rubbish collection in rural villages - imagine how much plastic rubbish you would add if you kept all the packaging on.
  •  Include a folded up bag (like an envirobag from the supermarket) or a string bag so that all the treasures in the box can still be kept together when the box disintegrates.
  • Put in a photo of yourself or your family, so the child has an idea of who gave them the gift - this makes it personal.
  • Put an elastic band around the whole box to keep it secure.
  • Drop it off to a collection centre by the end of October.
  • AND THIS YEAR’S NEW TOP TIP: buy $2 thongs/flipflops from Kmart (this is for Australians). They help fill up the box and are very practical.
All packed up and ready to go.

We started doing these boxes regularly 5 years ago (look how much everyone has grown!). It's a good activity for Term 3 school holidays. You might consider getting involved for these reasons:
  • It teaches generosity to your children (and to you!)
  • It's fun shopping for kids who you know have very little (much more fun than shopping for kids with everything).
  • If you like Christmas, it makes it feel that little bit closer.
  • If you don't like Christmas, you at least help a child like it!

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