Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.

Waiting to Warm a Neck thru an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gift

Fleece blankets purchased on clearance at after Christmas sales waiting to become scarves to wrap around a chilly neck.  They will be tucked in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift.  Images of the finished product and a link to instructions are below.

Simple No-Sew Fleece Scarves
Click for How to Instructions
Check out other ideas of Filler Items for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

Crocheted Pony Tail Holder Tutorial ~ Ruffly Scrunchie Perfect for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gifts

Crochet Hair Scrunchie pattern designed to send in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

Years ago my youngest daughter wanted a football themed birthday party--she was turning 8 I think.  So we invited a couple of her friends to spend the night and I asked each to pick their favorite football team.  I crocheted team colored items like little footballs and pony tail holders for each girl (all the patterns I invented for myself--this was pre-internet).  This year I was able to get some free hair bands at Rite Aid for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and I decided to pull out those old ruffled scrunchies and see how I made them to add color to these otherwise boring bands. And if the little girl doesn't have enough hair for a pony tail

Wordless Wednesday: Waiting for the Kiss of the Princess Who Receives an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

A Webkinz Frog waiting in the pansies for a kiss from the beautiful Princess.  He will be tucked inside a shoebox and sent off with Operation Christmas Child to bring joy to a child (princess) in crisis.

Check out other ideas of Filler Items for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

This post is part of Wordless Wednesday.

Simple Hand Towel Apron for a Child ~ How to Instructions: Perfect for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

When my mother in law passed away she had a stash of brand new, nice hand towels stored away for gifts for her children and grandchildren.  My father in law brought us a bunch of them and my mind recently has been spinning on what I can make for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.

I remember when my girls were young I would make them aprons to wear as they helped out in the kitchen.  My youngest daughter remembers my making them one

No Longer Waiting for a Make Over ~ Ready for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gift

This is my little "Operation Christmas Child Mascot" who was waiting for a makeover.  I got her in a large lot of Beanie Babies I ordered on Ebay for my shoe box gifts.  She was brand new, but her hair stood on end and she looked chilly to me in her lightweight dress. So I made pony tails in her hair and then crocheted her a little short sleeve sweater with ribbon to match her hair bows.  She's waiting till November when I tuck her into a shoebox, but until then, she is going to be my best buddy when I work on my shoe boxes.  (You can see her before picture below in the picture from the Ebay listing).

Beanie Baby Makeover for Operation Christmas Child
A barefoot country girl.

Talk about a bad hair day...I'd hide behind the animals, too.
Check out another Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift makeover I did here:  Beanie Baby Ghost to Snowman Makeover.

This post is part of Wordless Wednesday.

No-Sew Fleece Scarves ~ Simple How to Instructions: Perfect for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gifts

No-sew Fleece Scarf with Fringe tutorial.  Made for Operation Christmas Childs shoeboxes.

I try to put a scarf, hat or gloves in each shoebox I send thru Operation Christmas Child. Scarves roll up nice and small to tuck inside. I keep my eye open on after Christmas Clearance sales of fleece blankets as they are much cheaper than buying the fabric by the yard--and easier in my area to purchase. They are usually 30" wide which can make for a nice number of children's scarves. Even adult scarves

Deal Shopping for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes: CVS/pharmacy & CVS Extra Bucks

My favorite store to save at with a combination of coupons, sales and store promotions is CVS/pharmacy.  I pick up many items each year at CVS for my Operation Christmas Child shoebox donations--see image below for my 2011 OCC CVS stockpile grand finale.

In April of 2010 I began a blog dedicated to teaching the basics of CVS shopping and sharing tips and deals so others could save, too.  You can visit Simply CVS and read lessons on the details of CVS shopping and making the most of their Extra Buck program. We have since stopped posting weekly deals there, but there are lots of tips and lessons still available to read.  Here are the basics that make it possible to save money while shopping at CVS (this info was accurate as of FEB 2012).

Sign up for a CVS Extra Care Card.  The card is necessary to receive sale prices and to participate in the CVS extra care buck program.  You can either do this online at CVS.com and they will mail the card within two weeks, or you can pick up a form and a card at any CVS store and start saving the same day.
Extra Care Bucks, or commonly known as extra bucks, are the basis for the large savings possible for shopping at CVS.  Extra bucks are coupons received at the end of the receipt and are like extra “bucks” when shopping at CVS (they must be used with the card they were issued for).  There are a few restrictions for what they can be used on:  stamps, alcohol, prescriptions, gift cards, tax and tobacco all the ones I know of.   Extra bucks can be used on other extra buck deals and even on the same deal if the limit is more than one.   Extra bucks are earned in three different ways and usually expire within 30 days.
  1.           Quarterly extra bucks are issued four times a year and are calculated on the shopper’s spending.  Two percent of the amount spent on most items is earned in extra bucks (some restrictions apply).  This is after coupon price—the total paid on the receipt.  They are also issued in 50 cent increments so the shopper must spend $25 to get any quarterly extra bucks and then it increases in $25 spending increments or $.50 in extra bucks.
  2.          Quarterly extra bucks are earned for prescriptions filled.  Along with the 2% quarterly extra bucks, shoppers receive $1 for every two prescriptions filled.  UPDATE:  CVS is often changing its program so check for details with your pharmacy.  You do need to sign up at the pharmacy to earn on prescriptions.
  3.          Weekly deal extra bucks are issued immediately when a shopper buys an advertised “extra buck” item.  These range from “free after extra buck items” like “buy Toothpaste @ $2.99 get $2.99 extra bucks back” to “buy $15 worth of products listed and receive $5 extra bucks back.”  There are limits, usually one or two, for weekly extra buck deals.
2011 CVS Freebies for Shoe Boxes
Manufacturer coupons and CVS coupons can be combined.  CVS accepts manufacturer coupons (including internet printables if they will scan) as well as issues their own coupons.  CVS coupons are emailed, sent in the mail, found in various publications or tear pads, issued at the Kiosk where shoppers can scan their cards, and printed at the end of receipts.  You can use one CVS coupon and one manufacturer coupon per product purchased.  Extra bucks do not count as coupons so can be used on top of these.  It is actually possible to “make money” shopping at CVS by using CVS and manufacturer coupons to pay for an item that will issue more extra bucks back than cash used to pay for the product.  CVS also often issues total order coupons such as $5 off a total order of $30—the $30 is pre-coupon price.

Numerous transactions are helpful in spending the least out of pocket cash.  Using extra bucks on other extra buck earning deals is commonly referred to as “rolling extra bucks.”  The beauty of rolling extra bucks is it helps you spend less out of pocket cash.  You can check out numerous times each week, using the extra bucks earned from transaction #1 on transaction #2 and so on. This is also the way to keep the expense down from week to week.  As you continue to shop at CVS your extra bucks will slowly build up and you will be able to virtually keep spending the same extra bucks over and over again, because each time you use them on new extra buck deals you receive more with a later expiration date.  Each week at Simply CVS we share which CVS Extra Buck Deals are the best to roll onto.

CVS issues rain checks for most advertised deals.  If an advertised item is out of stock, and the ad does not state no rain checks issued, CVS will issue a rain check for the sale price AND the extra buck amount, if one is included, to be used by the customer when the store is restocked.
  1.      CVS rain checks never expire.
  2.      The Extra Bucks will be printed manually by the cashier after the purchase is made.
Rain Checks are great to save for when a great coupon comes out for the product, you have extra bucks expiring and there is no current sale that interests you or to have when you get a $5/30 to help you get up to the $30 total needed to use the coupon.  You can read more about CVS rain checks at Simply CVS.
Simply CVS

Saving money while shopping at CVS is easy with their weekly deals once you learn the basics.  You can find all the current deals each week at Simply CVS--the links are under the banner.

Information in this post was accurate at time of posting.  CVS Extra Bucks program can change from time to time.

You may want to check out all the ways we Find Extra Money for Packing Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Waiting to Be Picked for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox gift

These gloves are ripe for picking and packing into Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  Many little hands will be kept warm next winter.

Check out more Filler Items for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

This post is part of Wordless Wednesday.

Paper Pocket ~ Upcycling Gift Bags for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Upcycling gift bags to hold paper in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

I had some gift bags that I wanted to upcycle for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes as the bright colors could really brighten the box for a child.  I remember a missionary telling our family that she collected the fronts of cards in America to give to the children in Chad, Africa because the surroundings were so dull there and that the families enjoyed using them as artwork to hang on their

Operation Christmas Child ~ Packing Shoeboxes for Children Around the World

Even tho millions of shoebox gifts are delivered each year many people still ask "What is Operation Christmas Child?"  It is simple:  OCC collects shoeboxes packed with gifts each November for children in crisis around the world.  They then deliver them, bringing joy to children around the world who otherwise may have no Christmas at all.
What is Operation Christmas Child?  An Introduction.
Our family has participated as long as Samaritan's Purse (an international Christian relief agency) has been doing it since 1993 (I think we missed one year when we were moving). Some years we do a few and some we do dozens.  It is a great project to teach children to help others:  find an empty shoebox, add toys, hygiene items, school supplies and more.
Operation Christmas Child girl with shoebox gift
Image Courtesy of OCC

Letters from Operation Christmas Child recipient
Correspondence I received from one
of my shoe box girls in Latvia.
We have enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer in the Operation Christmas Child processing center at their headquarters in Boone, NC as a family and have also enjoyed corresponding with some of the children who have received our shoe boxes.  We always include our address in case the child has the ability to write to us.  The last couple of years we have included our email.  One year two sisters in a hospital received the two boxes my daughters sent.  They were able to correspond for a few years after receiving the letter thanking them for the shoeboxes.  It is so nice when we receive a letter and a photo from the child receiving the box.  It is a small percentage of the number we have sent, but has been such a special treat when we have.
Operation Christmas Child filled shoebox
Editing to add:  as of 2017
no toothpaste or candy allowed.

If you have any interest in starting a tradition with your children or grandchildren (or by yourself) of giving to a child in crisis at Christmas, OCC is a great program with which to do it.  It is simple and can be very personal by including a letter and a picture.  Often in the videos of the children receiving the boxes it is the photograph that they are most thrilled with.  I remember seeing a little Spanish speaking fellow waving the photo shouting "amigos, amigos."

Operation Christmas Child has collection centers throughout the US or the shoebox can be shipped directly to their Boone address.  You can learn how to pack a shoebox and find a collection center near you by visiting the OCC website (the local collection centers--usually churches--are not listed until around September each year.  But they are in every state and more than likely there should be one in driving distance--perhaps contact OCC to see if they can let you know if there have been ones near you in past years).  Collection week is the week before Thanksgiving each year.

Here are some Simply Shoeboxes posts that will help you in packing a shoebox:

You can also keep up with Operation Christmas Child on Facebook.

Boys with Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes

Images courtesy of Samaritan's Purse.

Simply Shoe Boxes ~ Sharing with Those in Need...One Shoe Box at a Time thru Operation Christmas Child

Simply Shoeboxes is my family's journey thru packing shoeboxes with needed and fun items for kids in crisis around the world.  We send thru Operation Christmas Child (OCC) each November.

Operation Christmas Child is the program that got me interested in making shoe box gifts full of necessities and niceties for those in need or crisis.  "The concept of Operation Christmas Child began on 10 October 1990, when Dave and Jill Cooke of Wrexham, Wales were watching a broadcast on Romanian orphanages. They asked the question: How can we help the real victims, the children, who live in these situations day after day? They knew they could not stop the wars, but they could offer something – the gift of love. Together, they filled a convoy of nine trucks with medical supplies, food, clothing and Christmas gifts for children, and headed into Romania, which had recently been devastated by war. This was the beginning of the world’s largest children’s Christmas program."

"In 1993, Franklin Graham, International President of Samaritan’s Purse, adopted Operation Christmas Child. Since then, more than 94 million shoe boxes have been delivered to hurting children in more than 135 countries."*  That first year we packed a box or two and dropped them off at a local Wendy's, the collection center in our area that year. Since then we have packed boxes all but one year that I can remember.

Between couponing, rebating and earning money online, we have been able to have more to share more.  And it is my personal challenge to try and make my donations more personal, like the OCC boxes.  Simply Shoeboxes will challenge me each day I visit it to bring joy into people's lives one shoe box at a time.

On my other site, Simply CVS, I often mentioned where I was donating an item I got at CVS.  Many readers enjoyed those posts and some encouraged me to share more in depth about giving thru deal shopping. This is the second reason I began Simply Shoeboxes.

So thank you for stopping by today and I hope you find something that will bring joy to your life or that will encourage you in your own sharing.

Here are some links to popular posts & series here on Simply Shoeboxes:

*From the OCC website.

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.