Filling a shoebox with goodies and sending to a child who would otherwise have nothing for Christmas. It’s a simple concept but one that works well for Samaritan’s Purse. Every year, through the Operation Christmas Child program, people from all over America, Canada, and parts of Europe have the opportunity to help children all over the world by simply filling shoeboxes with small gifts and treats.
This is a great Christmas project to do with your grandkids. Author Nancy Twigg shares other ideas on how giving a shoebox can be a great learning experience!
- Scaling back Christmas gift giving – Whether you need to scale back for financial reasons, or simply want to scale back because you think it’s gotten out of hand, limiting gift giving to one shoebox per person is a great way to go. Obviously if all gifts must fit in one shoebox, that limits not only how many items but what kinds of items can be given. You can still give more expensive items if you want (gift cards, jewelry, cash, etc.), but knowing that each person will only receive one shoebox controls expectations.
- Clutter-free gift giving – Most grandparents and older people have more than enough of everything they need. They have little room for trinkets and gadgets, but appreciate practical items that won’t create clutter in their homes. A shoebox filled with consumable items—food items, toiletries, stationery, health and beauty products—would be a thoughtful gift idea for practically any senior adult on your list for practically any gift-giving occasion.
- Long distance gift giving – Don’t you hate the expense of mailing large boxes of gifts to long-distance friends and relatives? Limiting the size of packages to a shoebox would definitely help control shipping costs. This rule would also make shipping easier, as almost everyone has plenty of empty shoeboxes and brown paper bags around the house for wrapping up the boxes. What if you have several shoeboxes to send to one family? No problem. Just put your shoeboxes in one larger box for mailing.*Good for other needy people, too – Children in foreign countries aren’t the only ones who could benefit from receiving a shoebox of goodies. We have many people right here in America who need a loving touch. Why couldn’t a church or charitable organization start a Christmas shoebox program for inner city families, the homeless, people in nursing homes, or shut-ins? And why limit it to Christmas? These people need ministry all year long. Shoeboxes filled with practical items and special treats could be just the way to do good deeds for people who are often overlooked.
- An educational experience for kids – One last idea. This year I plan to give my grandkids a Christmas shoebox, too. I believe it will be educational for them to experience a little of how it must feel for the children who receive shoeboxes from Samaritan’s Purse. Of course, the effect is not exactly the same. Unlike most of the Operation Christmas Child children, they know they will receive other presents. However, I hope the excitement they as they open their box will make an indelible impression and help them to be more empathetic toward those who have so little.
So you see, giving shoeboxes for Christmas is a smart idea. It works for Operation Christmas Child and it can work in a variety of situations for your family, too. By the way, if you’d like more information on how your family can participate in visit https://www.samaritanspurse.org. A similar program exists which sends shoeboxes of goodies to military personnel deployed overseas.
Learn more about Operation Shoebox at https://www.operationshoebox.com.
Nancy Twigg is the author of the newly revised and expanded book, Celebrate Simply: Your Guide to Simpler, More Meaningful Holidays and Special Occasions (Kregel Publications, October 2006).