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Packing a Shoebox for Operation Christmas Child

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We’ve already had one amazingly fun shoebox packing party for Operation Christmas Child and have one more planned this week with another group of friends. The shoebox packing party was much fun. Around the house we set up four different areas so that we didn’t congest one area of the house, so today I wanted to share a few pictures with you and what we did together.

Decorating the Shoeboxes

You can use any type of a shoebox to pack your gifts {OCC has red and green boxes you can order}. We bought clear Sterlite containers from Walmart for less than $1 apiece.  Our girls helped pre-cut Christmas wrapping paper so everyone could grab a piece and work on it quickly.


The kids started by lining the clear plastic shoeboxes with some colorful wrapping paper to pretty them up a bit and make them festive.

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Letter Writing Station


In our living room, we had a place to write letters and color pictures to include the boxes. There was a stack of pre-printed coloring pages for the kids to use and adults to help them read and answer the questions.  These letters are great to tell the children receiving the boxes a little about the person sending them.

Creating Crafts

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The kids took turns making some cute finger puppets {tutorial at Sidetracked Sara} and also some beaded friendship bracelets {the kids designed their own}. You can also find some fun craft ideas to make on the Operation Christmas Child Pinterest Boards.

Packing the Boxes

Once we had our letters written, boxes decorated and crafts finished, the kids stuffed their boxes with all of the fun gifts they had brought. Be sure to wrap a few rubber bands around the boxes when you are done too, just to keep the lids on the boxes!


This year our family decided to pack boxes for older children {ages 10-14}, since they typically receive the fewest boxes. While choosing toys and gifts for the younger children is easier, we had to think a little more for the older children. Here a few things that we included for the boys and girls:

Girls ages 10-14: fabric, sewing scissors, thread and needles, small reusable plastic containers packed with safety pins, flashlight and batteries, stick deodorant, chapstick, hair accessories, school supplies, toothbrush/toothpaste, washcloths, water bottle, bar soap, and flip flops.

Boys ages 10-14: hammer, tape measure, flashlight and batteries, stick deodorant, socks, school supplies, toothbrush/toothpaste, washcloths, backpack/carry bag, water bottle, bar soap, rope, carabiners, pliers, work gloves, and flip flops.

There are SO many different things that you can pack in a shoebox and share with others. Here’s just a sample list of ideas to use:

You can find complete packing instructions on the OCC website here: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Pack_A_Shoe_Box/

Praying for the Shoeboxes and Those Receiving Them

Packing the boxes was fun, but at the end we all got together and talked about the journeys that our shoeboxes would take. The boxes were all piled in the middle of our living room and prayed for the children and families that would be receiving the boxes – praying that the things we included would bring joy to the children who opened them and bless the families, but most importantly that they would know the love of Jesus through our simple gift.s

For next year’s party…

I’m already making plans for NEXT year’s packing party and thinking of improvements to make to our process. Here’s what I’d like to do next year:

  • Provide as much as I can for the shoeboxes, so families can bring ‘key’ items to add. I’ve already managed to hit the clearance aisles of CVS and another store, finding some collapsible water bottles for a quarter each. Throughout the year I’d love to stock up on filler items {school supplies, etc…}for the boxes so that kids attending the party can use them to stuff their boxes full of goodies.
  • Hunt for more great craft ideas! Our girls have had a lot of fun working on extras to put in the shoeboxes, but we can also work on crafts all year long in preparation for next year – sewing, knitting, etc…
  • Ask other moms to help me search for goodies {the more we can find, the better!}

If you have any helpful ideas for a packing party, please leave a comment and let me know!!

Links to Get You Started Planning Your Shoebox Party

Here are a few helpful links {all in one place} to get you started planning your party.



100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls


100 Shoebox Ideas for Boys

If you are blogging and sharing about Operation Christmas Child, be sure to link up below with us:


OCC-blogger-buttonDisclosure: I am a member of the iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team and voluntarily writing about this ministry. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.


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  1. We usually use those plastic containers but this year we’re doing actual cardboard shoeboxes. No particular reason, just had them handy! Writing the notes might be my daughter’s favorite part of packing the boxes!

    • We love the letter writing too – so much fun. If I had been able to get ahold of shoeboxes, we probably would have done that, but no one seemed to have them this year at all!!! Instead, we cleaned Walmart out of the clear containers. :)

  2. lambofHisflock says

    Oh your post is a delight! I hope you do not mind my sharing it next summer on my occ blog (klamathocc.blogspot.com) Perhaps you will inspire others to do a packing party.
    As for shoeboxes, try asking your local Payless, we have gathered literally hundreds over the year for our church by arranging for them to save them for pickup. They will do it for a small or large amount.

    • Absolutely! I have a bunch of links at the bottom of the post too that you can use as resources. :) Have fun planning a packing party!

  3. My son is 8 and loves camo. I was wondering if I put small camo bears in the boys boxes that they would be acceptable? Or do you think they would be removed?

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