Thursday, December 13, 2012

Simple Shoebox Gifts

Packing shoebox gifts is a fun ministry for young & old alike.
We "collect" box stuffers all year long which enables us to take advantage of sales throughout the months.  Last year, we decided to budget our shoebox money monthly and purposed to shop for the boxes each month.  This worked out great some months & not so great other months.

If you can free up $10 or so in your monthly budget ~ you could pack 11 boxes in a year (Jan. - Nov. collection week)  Thats only 2 less starbucks trips or 2 less McDonalds meals per month.
For $10 your box could hold the following....(just an example of how far $10 would go)
coloring book $1.00
Crayons .25
stuffed animal or small doll 1.00
toothbrush .25
toothpaste 1.00
soap .33
washcloth .50
game or puzzle 1.00
flip flops 1.00
slinky 1.00
hard candy 1.00
craft kit 1.00
plastic shoebox to hold all the goodies 1.00
Total $10.33

We buy lots of our goodies at Dollar Tree, so thats what I based my prices on.  These could go up or down depending on your area.  The .33 soap is based on 3 bars for $1.00 ~ that would go down to a quarter if you found 4 bars for $1.00
Toothbrushes and holders can routinely be found in multipacks at dollar tree.  With coupons, the toothpaste could be well less than $1.00.  You can buy the big multipack of washcloths at Walmart and split the 15 cloths between 15 boxes. 

In our boxes for each age range we include ~ notebook or notepad, crayons, pencils & sharpener, toothbrush & toothpaste, washcloth & soap (one year we crocheted the washcloths), combs, candy.

For boys you can add ~ hot wheels type cars, tool sets (older boys), cards, puzzles, games, packs of dinosaurs or animals, stuffed animal for the younger kids, balls, small frisbees, flashlights/batteries, etc.

For girls you can include ~ small dolls, sewing/mending kits, hair scrunchies/barrettes, craft kits, small totes or purses (this year we put in purses made from placemats), plastic lacing & beads, balls,  etc.

 The age ranges guidelines for the gift tags are
Boys 2-4, 6-10, 12-14
Girls 2-4, 6-10, 12-14

We tried to be very organized this year ~ but we got to the day of our family box packing party and had no toothpaste.  Its a good thing Dollar Tree/Walmart is conveniently located.

Back to school sales are the best time to buy spiral notebooks & crayons.  You can usually get the notebooks for .10 or .15 each at Target or Walmart.  And crayons for .20 to .25.  I buy all that I need then for the coming year, both for our family's use and the shoeboxes.  Staples/Office Depot usually runs the pencils very cheaply during this time also.  I get the pencil sharpeners at Dollar Tree in a multipack and split them up.

Many times you can find little cars, craft supplies, balls, totes, etc. in multipacks for $1 and you can split between several boxes.

We usually set a "family goal" for how many boxes we want to pack.
Many folks pack one boy & one girl box, or 1 box for each age range, or each child in the family packs their own box, or one box for each month.  

When James was in Scouts and working on his Eagle Scout project ~ he chose this ministry.  His goal was 200 or 250 shoeboxes (I don't remember the exact number, this was 11 years ago).  Through generous donations, lots of box wrapping, and boy scout packing parties ~ he had approx. 275 boxes to donate.  Another  50-75 were added to his count when the folks at drop off found out it was for an Eagle project.  And these boxes were packed full.

I've found a new inspiration for my boxes on Pinterest.  Just type in Operation Christmas Child & see what pops up.  Lots of great ideas & fun!

What not to put in your boxes ~ liquids of any kind, war toys/soldiers/guns/tanks, chocolate, food items.  

What I have thought of for next years boxes ~ making lightweight sheets for covers, fabric/sewing kit/ thread/ zippers for older girls, hard plastic cups,  pillowcase dresses for little girls, t shirts.

To read more about this awesome ministry, please go to

If you would like to be a part of this for this year....its not too late.  You can click on the link & build a box online.  The deliveries for this year have started all over the globe & more deliveries will be made in the coming months!

My blog friend, Jessica went with OCC to the Dominican Republic last week to deliver boxes ~ you can read about her adventures here.....

So my next question is............
How can you NOT pack a box?
Just 1 box could impact one childs life forever!


  1. Yes!!! These are great tips!!!! :D :D Thank you for spreading the word about OCC, which is clearly very close to my heart! :)

  2. I have a friend in South America and she and her husband have a special event at their church where they give out the OCC boxes every year. They share the gospel very clearly and the kids all come. When I promote doing boxes I can always hear her words to me: make sure you tell people to make plenty of older boy boxes. They are the ones we always run out of and that is the only day in the year that some of the older boys will come into the church building. So, in light of your excellent blog, I'm using the opportunity to pass along her message. Also, we worked with a church in Croatia in 1995 and taught their kids for a week and a half. I was told all of those kids got boxes one year when their area was experiencing war and and it was their only Christmas. No stores could get any deliveries but the boxes miraculously got through. God is using this ministry.

  3. Thanks Donna! We usually put Will in charge of the chosing for the older boy gifts since he is a teen boy. Other than the school supplies, candy, personal items ~ we've done tape measures, small tool sets, models, etc.


Welcome to the farm ~ we are a blended family with 7 children (3 are married), 4 grandsons, 5 dogs, 3 rabbits, and 15 chickens living on 3 acres in Georgia. I love crafting, sewing, cooking & canning, recipes of all kinds, reading, playing with my little buddies, family time, travel, pinterest and most of all the Lord.