Deck the Halls . . . with Shoeboxes!
It’s that time again—the days are getting shorter, the temperatures are falling, everyone is back in school. As a mom, I breathe a sigh of relief as we get back into routine. But my mind inevitably wanders to prepping our hearts and minds for the next season, the one with tinsel and reindeer and all things ribbons and bows.
Believe it or not, Christmas is around the corner! And one of my favorite parts of preparing for the season is gathering my friends and neighbors at the Turquoise Table to spread a little love in the form of shoeboxes.
What is Operation Christmas Child?
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. OCC’s mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies to share the love of Jesus. OCC ships these simple gifts outside the United States to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease, and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.
Every year, millions of people pack shoeboxes that OCC delivers to more than 100 countries around the world. This year, we invite you to help us spread a little Turquoise Table love by hosting your very own shoebox packing party!
What to Pack in Your Shoeboxes
When it comes to filling your shoeboxes with goodies, the sky’s the limit! Pick whether the box will be for a boy or a girl ages 2–4, 5–9, or 10–14. Small toys, stuffed animals, toiletries and accessories are always welcome. If you have questions about what to put in a box or what to leave out, here are some guidelines.
We loved what Turquoise Table commenter Cyndee had to say about her OCC experience:
“Having been a part of the delivery of shoeboxes to children in Grenada, I can tell you from experience that the shoeboxes you pack will be very much appreciated! So many of the children who receive shoeboxes have never gotten a gift before! I personally love to pack a stuffed animal in all of the shoeboxes our family sends. We also fill them with a variety of school supplies, small toys, and even deflated soccer balls with pumps. It’s been our family tradition for over 15 years and sharing that experience with my neighbors is a fabulous idea!”
How to Host a Shoebox Packing Party at Your Table
- Pick a date between now and November 19, 2018 for your Shoebox Packing Party.
- Invite friends and neighbors to your Turquoise Table. Kiddos especially love getting in on the packing fun!
- Gather party supplies, including gifts and shoeboxes. If you need more boxes than you can find in your closets, you can order pre-printed shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child!
- Pack shoeboxes with small gifts and lots of love. Put on some fun party music (maybe even Christmas music!), set out some drinks and snacks, and go to town.
- Pray for the child who will receive your gifts. Feel free to include photos and a special note in your box too!
- Follow your box! For $9, you can receive a tracking label and find out where your box is going.
- Drop off your boxes. Find a collection site near you and deliver the boxes between November 12–19.
If you need more help, read this FAQ or contact your Operation Christmas Child Regional Office. They’ll be happy to connect you with a volunteer in your neighborhood! Last year, our OCC volunteer Kris showed up at our packing party with balloons and was able to answer questions about our shoeboxes.
And if one of your neighbors can’t make the party? Invite them to pack their own shoebox online. It’s an easy way to join the fun and spread a little Turquoise Table love during the holidays.
Share Your Shoebox Packing Party
As always, we’re thrilled to see you and your loved ones at the Turquoise Table. Be sure to share your photos with our community by tagging #theturquoisetable #frontyardpeople. We’d love to share how you gather and love in your own neighborhood.
May your days be merry and turquoise!