How to Pack Christmas Shoe Boxes
& Where to Send Them
It’s that time of the year again where we hunt for great deals and the perfect gifts for those we love! Christmas shopping has become a real art form, especially here in America. We run each other over by foot and cart to save $200 off of a flat screen TV that’s bigger than the one we got last year for our Birthdays. We run down the aisle of the nearest target to grab the last of the 10 Kitchen Aid mixers that are 50% off. We camp out on the sidewalk in front of Best Buy and miss the last half of Thanksgiving to get another cell phone that our faces will be glued to until next years Black Friday extravaganza!
I say we…but I really don’t do this. I’ve only participated twice in Black Friday shopping. The first time was with my family to see what the fuss was all about and the second time was with my siblings. That second time, we waited outside of our car with Starbucks in hand and watched, with much laughter, as people literally rushed, crammed, yelled, and knocked each other over to get into the suddenly open store. It was hilarious and disgusting all at the same time. We went to breakfast and then returned to Target once the madness had settled a bit and I bought a coffee maker for my mother. Then, after having at least 10 people push me or run into me – I had to leave. ASAP.
I tried so hard to explain to my friend Gens, while I was in Haiti last October, what Black Friday was. Thank God he is intelligent and compassionate and could not understand why people would leave their families, especially on a national holiday, to wait hours in line, sleep on the street in the cold, be incredibly rude and inconsiderate, all for a discount on material idols. He was amazed. I was embarrassed. I don’t even participate in Black Friday but as an American I was embarrassed to even have a “holiday” like this to tell someone about.
I’m not writing this to make anyone feel guilty. If you do, then it’s probably a conviction in your heart you should be intentional to think about. Don’t get me wrong.. I love a good deal. I like getting more for my money as well. I really enjoy shopping favor. Black Friday and the attitude and behavior behind it is beyond my convictions. It’s not worth it to me. I’d rather be with my family and pay a few more dollars for those gifts the following week. It’s really the heart behind it all. Anyways. My mini rant is over.
I love giving gifts! Love, love, love it. So I really enjoy Christmas. Even though it sneaks up on you and comes quicker and quicker every year. My favorite gifts to buy and wrap are my Christmas Shoe Boxes that i make and send to my BEAUTIFUL god-children in the Dominican Republic who I met during my 2010 internship there. (You can read about that here: Dominican Republic) If I can’t be there in person to deliver them presents then sending them in the mail is still a great option. I’ve done this three years in a row now and it never gets old.
I make boxes for my own kids and mail them off to Grace Covenant Ministry who then ships them to my friends and missionaries in the DR. They deliver the boxes and throw a big Christmas party for all the kids at the orphanage and Bread of Life Feeding Center. Here are some photos to show you what joy looks like.
These are my three god-children and one of the cutest sets of siblings you’ll ever see ;)
Danni, Leonidas, and Danielle
Confession time: I love a little friendly competition. So every year I like to out-give myself and up the ante in comparison to the previous years Christmas shoe boxes. lol Christmas 2013 I increased the shoe box size to boot boxes. They were very large. After filling them FULL I had this picture of my kids struggling to carry their gifts home as they walk down that dirt road…. So I drove straight to Target and bought them large tote bags! Hopefully that helped some :)
I’m getting ready to pack three more shoe boxes FILLED with goodies for this Christmas. I thought I’d share a bit about this amazing way to bless children around the world with a simple and fun gift. It doesn’t take much to bless a child.
Below you will find ideas of things to put in your shoe boxes and a few places you can partner with to send them off.
Have you ever made Christmas Shoe Boxes? Tell me about it.
What was your favorite part? What kind of things did you add to the boxes? Where did you send them, etc?
Can’t wait to hear!
Here are some photos from past Christmases at the “Pan Da Vida” Feeding Center in the Dominican Republic.
What to Pack in The Shoe Boxes:
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Hair brush or Comb, Wash Cloth, mild Bar Soap, Sunscreen, a small First Aid Kit, Band aids, etc.
T-Shirt, Tank Top, Flip Flops, Sandals, Socks, Hat.
Bible (in specific language), Journal, Note Book, Coloring Book, Appropriate Reading Books, Pens, Markers, Crayons, Pencils, Sharpeners, Erasers, Drawing Pads, Stickers, Ink Pad and Stamps, Solar Calculators, Small Dry Erase Boards with Markers, etc.
Jump Ropes, Jacks, Travel Checkers, Playing Cards, Small Cars, Balls, Dolls, Stuffed Animals, Harmonicas, Yo Yo’s, Hacky Sacks, Kazoos, Small Etch A Sketch, etc.
Non Chocolate/melt-able candy, Lollipops, Gummies, Gum, Mints, Animal Cracker Boxes, kids healthy Protein Bars, kids Gummie Vitamins,
Hair Clips, Toy Jewelry, Flash Light with Batteries, Toy.Kid Watches, Chap stick, Small Travel Mirror, Tote Bag, etc.
A Card, Hello Letter…
The Possibilities are endless!
Items You Should Not Include: Used, Damaged items, War-related items such as Toy Guns, Knives or Military Figures, Crosses, Chocolate or Food, Out of date Candy, Liquids, Breakable items such as Snow Globes or Glass Containers.
Who & Where to Partner with for Christmas Shoe Boxes:
(Click on the photos for ministry links)
As you saw above, I send my Christmas Shoe Boxes to my god-children in the Dominican Republic at the Pan Da Vida Feeding Center. Grace Covenant’s DR Missionaries are The Bernard’s and Humble’s who are all amazing at making sure my boxes get to my kids! They have done this year after year for hundreds of children. It’s beautiful.
Another amazing opportunity that is made available to all is Operations Christmas Child hosted annually by Samaritan’s Purse. I’m sure most of you have heard of them and the OCC at some point or another. These Christmas Shoe Boxes go around the world every year. They will even send you pre-made boxes to wrap up your gifts in.
Maybe you’re supper busy with the holidays but you still have a heart to give this season, you can do so by designing and ordering a Christmas Shoe Box for a child through OCC online! They have a whole selection of items to choose from to include in your child’s box. All you do is pick an age range, pick from the available items, include a note and/or prayer, pay for the gifts/box and boom! You have just blessed and taken care of a child somewhere around the world with their very own gift box. You can do so here: Build A Shoe Box
These are just a few ideas and resources I thought I’d share with you! I hope it inspires you and stirs your heart to give this season and every day of the year.