A Christmas Giving Tradition You Can Do WITH Your Kids

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A Christmas Giving Tradition You Can Do WITH Your Kids // #ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

One of our family traditions is to use the Christmas season as an opportunity to GIVE. Beyond our personal giving (Christmas gifts to one another), each holiday season brings an opportunity to reevaluate the charities and ministries we give to.

Over the years, one ministry we have consistently participated in is Operation Christmas Child– it’s a simple but profound opportunity for both generosity and sharing the Gospel.

Operation Christmas Child gives Christians a chance to fill a shoebox with gifts, hygiene items, and school supplies to show God’s love to needy children around the world. This year, the shoebox collection week is November 16-23, 2015, so you still have plenty of time to jump in and get yours turned in!

Here’s how we did it this year:

#1- We got our empty box and headed to the store.

On my husband’s day off, I took my 5 big kids to the store during my little one’s nap time.

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

We recommend taking the shoebox you’ll use WITH you, so you can be sure everything will fit!

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com
#2- We picked the gender, and age of our box recipient.

Obviously a 3 year old girl and a 13 year old boy are going to appreciate different items in their boxes. This time around, we chose a 10-14 year old BOY.

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

#3- We chose our “WOW” gift. 

This is the highlight/feature gift of your shoebox. In our 5+ years living overseas, we learned that soccer is the universal sport. So it follows that we’d pick…

… a soccer ball!

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

(Note: Be sure to look at size recommendations– there are different-sized soccer balls for different ages.) We also included (not pictured) a pump, so that he can pump it back up when he gets his gift.

Don’t worry, we deflated it before we packed it!

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

#4- We chose other smaller items to go along with our big gift. 

Here are the other items we included… none cost very much money, but all should be enjoyable for a boy his age.

We chose a simple calculator:

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

A pack of tic-tacs:#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

A small notebook-style journal (the smallest one Wal-Mart sells was just 27 cents):

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

An old-school multi-colored pen (I loved using these at my grandma’s house when I was a kid):

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

And a kid-friendly $1 flashlight:

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

#5- We came home and packed our box.

We deflated the ball, put it in the center, and then tucks all the smaller gifts around it.

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

We decided to put the notebook in a plastic baggie, just in case the box got wet.  #ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

At the last minute, we stuck in a handful of Dum-Dums from our Halloween candy stash:
#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

#6- Finally- we stopped to pray for the recipient of our box.

Before we prayed, we talked about how generosity and concern for others gives “flesh” to the message of the Gospel, and how much the Gospel is needed around the world.

One thing I love about Operation Christmas Child is that in addition to the delivery of a practical need, they include a Gospel presentation in each box (age-appropriate, in the language of the recipient).

Our prayer is that the young man who receives this box will:

  • recognize that he is a valuable, unique creation of God,
  • enjoy the gifts as coming from the hand of God to him,
  • understand the Gospel in a new way, and
  • desire to know, honor, and confess Jesus with his whole life.

#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

We did it! We packed a shoebox!

Do you want to join this Christmas giving tradition? Here are some links to help you:

Once you participate, take a picture with your box and share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #ipackedashoebox. This is a great way to encourage others to participate in Operation Christmas Child! I’d love to hear if you plan to participate.
#ipackedashoebox // jessconnell.com

Have you participated in Operation Christmas Child before? Do you have any favorite or unusual gift recommendations to pack in the shoebox?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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2 Responses

  1. Elizabeth says:

    We love doing Operation Christmas Child. Our small church just packed 100 boxes. We collect items all year long and then have aa packing party after church!

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