Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas ChildThis year we decided to do something new leading up to Christmas...Operation Christmas Child.  I had heard of this organization through our homeschool group, and then it kept popping up on my blogroll, so I decided it was time to particpate.  Matias and Violet both got to pack a box for a child roughly their age and gender. Of course, we turned it into a learning activity...that's how we roll around here!

First stop- the bank.  The kids filled out the withdrawal slips and chatted with the nice teller at the bank as they took out some cash to buy gifts for their children. They had to keep within their budget, and then fill the rest of the box up with things we had around the house.

Then we sat down and discussed how our children might be living, and watched a few of the videos of children receiving their boxes.  I would be lying if I said that we weren't all touched by these videos.  Matias, in particular, was very concerned when one of the videos mentioned that some of the kids didn't have parents.  He burst into tears, climbed into my lap and asked if that was REALLY true.  I hate to see my kids upset, but there are some things in the world that we should all be upset about.  We should all feel passionate about caring for the most vulnerable.  I think a project like this is a good way to introduce kids to poverty and need because it allows them to do something tangible to help.  The goal isn't to make them (or us) feel guilty or depressed...it is to help develop a servant's heart and the habit of sharing with those in need.

Following this, we discussed the difference between wants and needs, and made a list of some things our Christmas children might both want and need.  Then we hit the stores.  We did our best to tally up our purchases as we shopped, and came out with just enough cash to cover our gifts (after Mommy fished around in her purse for a spare quarter or two...not going into the concept of taxes quite yet!)

We decided to get plastic shoe boxes and "wrap" them with bandanas inside so that the kids could reuse the wrapping.  We tucked in the items we purchased (Legos and a princess doll being the MOST important) and then searched the house for other goodies we could include: Halloween candy (non-chocolate), tubes of toothpaste, soap, some cars and toys the kids were willing to part with, stickers, school supplies...it is amazing what you can find when you go looking.
A very neat part of the experience was doing the coloring page that OCC provides on their website.  The kids filled out information about themselves, added a picture and sent it along to their child.  There is even space to put your address, so perhaps someday we'll hear back from them.  Not holding my breath, but it would be neat!  We also decided to donate the $7 per box shipping fee online so that we would receive a tracking code so we can follow our boxes and see where they end up.

We looked up our (very convenient) Drop-Off Location and left our boxes with piles of others to be shipped overseas.  The kids even got OCC stickers.  Drop-off continues all week, so you still have time to put a shoebox together if you'd like.  It doesn’t take long.  We will definitely be thinking about the little ones who will open our boxes as Christmas draws nearer.  Fun, learning and charity...hard to beat that!


  1. Very impressive, Helen! Your children are so fortunate not only to have parents, but to have such dedicated, loving, and creative ones! I love the looks of pride on Matias and Violet's faces.

  2. This is awesome, Helen! You never cease to amaze me with the thoughtfulness you tackle things like this with. What a fun and meaningful activity for you and your kiddos. Like many other things you've written about, I am keeping this idea in my back pocket for when Linnea is a bit bigger. What an AWESOME holiday tradition. Thank you for sharing.

  3. this is great. we are going to do our Boxes tomorrow. i love the discussions you had with your kids about it all. B


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