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After Christmas Clearance Shopping for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes 2014 (And Giveaway Win)

We have very few stores in our area and the ones we have are small which means their stock is small, too.  Finding things on clearance is not easy and it usually clears out quickly even at 50% off.  When I see images of clearance sales elsewhere I am shocked that there is more on clearance at those stores than my store ever had of the items to begin with.  So after Christmas Clearance Shopping is not one of our biggest Operation Christmas Child shoebox stockpile shopping times of the year like it is for so many others.  But Sarah went hunting, as always, hoping to find something for our shoe boxes.

Big Lots

These are decorated zipper bags and came out to 2 cents each.  The smaller snack bags have 60 in each pack making them just under 2 cents each and should be large enough for the candy.  Two cents is the best price I have gotten in the past few

Wanted: Picture Calendars for Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes

I hope to add decorations to the inside of all of my Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts this year.  Calendars work perfectly for this so I made this collection poster to share in hopes of being able to get some from friends and family members.   I'm sharing it here in case anyone else wants to print it to hang up or share the image on their social media sites and collect calendars of their own.

Operation Christmas Child Picture Calendar Collection Sign

You can find more Operation Christmas Child shoebox supply collection posters thru this link:  Shoebox Printable Resources.

If you like upcycling you may enjoy our Upcycling Crafts for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes Series.

Flower Power Skirt for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

I had the pleasure of ordering fabric for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox project once again from my friend's online store. She donated the fabric & trim for the skirt and the yarn for the hat.

My husband had found a dozen of these wonderful, high quality knit shirts for just $1 last fall and I am going to make skirts for each of them. They are for 5 to 9 year old boxes.  This is the first one I

Christmas Gifts Received for My Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile ~ And A Big Surprise!

I let my family know that I would love to receive gifts for Christmas that I could pass on to a needy child thru Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.  I received some fun things for sure!

From Family

Penguin themed gifts for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox.

My daughter found this cute board book about Penguins and decided with the addition of the beanie penguin and this delightful card I had a great beginning for a

Lots of Matchbox Cars & Free CVS Deals for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile

Free CVS Toothbrushes & More

I had a great CVS deal shopping trip for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes this week.  I had a $5 off $15 total order coupon I received in an email from CVS.  I knew that if I combined it with the Spend $10 on CVS Oral Care get $10 Extra Bucks I could get some free stock for my shoe boxes.

My daughter Sarah, from Simply CVS, does my shopping for me.  I just told her to find some deals for my shoeboxes.  After getting the toothbrushes she decided the Bandaids @ $3.49 get $2.50 back would be a good addition (I see a Dora themed box in my future).  She still needed about $1 more to reach the $15.00 so she got the small memo book for 99 cents.

I had reached my $50 CVS Beauty Club spending last week so a $5 Extra Buck printed at the scanner.  Unfortunately I had spent all my extra bucks last week, but

Using Google Documents to Record OCC Shoebox Stockpile

Because we have several shoppers on our Operation Christmas Child shoebox team we need a way to keep track of our purchases.  By using Google Documents we can all access and update it when we get more shoe box items.  It can also be brought up on a phone in the store before a purchase is made to be sure we don't over buy certain items.

Click image to see it larger.

  • Estimate of how many we need is at the top (guessing on approx. 100 boxes)
  • Total on hand is next (line 4) 
    • Updates automatically each time a number is added in lower line.
  • Shopper records date/name/specifics & number.
  • Each category has its own page.
As the year proceeds if we are close to our goal for 100 boxes in all categories I will go in and increase the number needed on line 3 and we will keep shopping.  I am hoping this system keeps us from having 200 stuffed animals and only 50 toothbrushes when it comes time to pack.  It is also to help us not to overbuy when we find a great deal.  I'll let you know how it works out.  Meanwhile, if you missed my earlier posts on how we are organizing our purchases you may want to check them out here:  My Shoe Box Stockpile Organization.

Toothbrushes & Dolls Added to Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile

I haven't been sharing my Operation Christmas Child shoebox shopping much but will try to get in the habit so you can see the fun goodies I am adding to my stockpile.  This week my additions were from Toys R Us and CVS.


My daughter blogs about weekly CVS deals over at Simply CVS.  She also does my shopping for me and often finds great deals for my Operation Christmas Child shoe box packing.  This week when she scanned my card at the coupon scanner at CVS a 35% off $10 or more CVS brand oral care coupon printed.  She matched it with this great extra buck deal:
  • Get $6 ECB wys $10 on ANY CVS Oral Care
She purchased these two packs of toothbrushes -- one at $5.99 and one at $4.59 for a total of $10.58. The coupon took off  $3.70 leaving a $6.88 balance which she paid for with extra bucks from earlier weeks of shopping and I received a $6.00 extra buck back.

My "net cost" after coupon and extra bucks was just $.88 or $.22 per brush--a 92% savings over retail.  I used to get all of my toothbrushes free with CVS deals, but that is hard to do now, so I aim for $.25 each.  I was excited to get these four. I have some travel covers that were free with personal toothbrushes in the past so I can open these packages and use those to keep them clean and split them between boxes.  I may put the whole package in one so the child can share.

Toys R Us

I won a $125 Toys R Us gift card from a blog giveaway.  I won it back in August but just received it this week.  We do not have a store nearby so my daughter and I went shopping online.  I am so excited to be able to put such high quality items in my boxes. We've only spent $50 so far, enough to qualify for free shipping.  We picked out clearance and sale priced toys so the card can go further.  They have been shipped in three different shipments, but I received my two dolls yesterday.

Dolls for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Chloe & Kylie, Victorian Sweet Lollies Dolls for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.

I love dolls and usually don't have them to put in my shoe boxes because I get stuffed animals at better prices. But this year I want to work hard at getting some dolls so when I won the gift card I just had to look over the dolls. I found these 13.5" Victorian Sweet Lollies, regularly $12.99 on sale for $6.98.  So I splurged and "spent" $14 of my gift card on them--but really they were FREE.

They are very narrow and their legs fold right over their bodies--they will fit perfectly in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox!  I will be making some skirts or dresses for them to match the ones I will make for the little girl receiving the box. Maybe an apron, too, and sleeping bags, and.....  What fun we will have!

Check out this post if you are interested in knowing Why We Include a Stuffed Animal in Each of Our Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.  Or a doll to love, but we often include a smaller stuffed animal with the doll.

Generations of Hands Packing Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes: Helping Grandma Again

I shared earlier how I am trying to find simple ways to involve my elderly mother in our Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.  She is easily confused, which makes even the simplest project a challenge, yet she gets such fulfillment out of helping.  She not only feels she is helping the child, but she also feels she is helping me.

Generations double bagging soap for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

We had some soap that was quite fragrant and I wanted to double bag it so it didn't permeate the contents of the whole box.  I thought this might be something

Special, Unexpected Filled Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Donation

After posting a "WANTED:  Empty Shoe Boxes" poster at work my husband received a few inquiries as to how to pack a box.  He took in brochures to give to those interested. He also provided the drop off location times so they could either drop them off themselves or bring them to him and we would take them.

Special Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts
I know the pretty ribbons will need to be removed at the processing center,
but I loved the detail she put into wrapping these.
 Maybe the checker will put them back on and they can be taped over; I like to think they will.

One day a fellow worker brought these two in that his wife had packed.  I could not believe how heavy they each were!  And she had taken the time to decorate them so lovely.  At times I miss the days of packing one or two extra special boxes.  That's why this year I am not setting a total number goal but trying to pack many while packing them each as unique as possible.

I enjoyed seeing these done up so lovingly and filled with wonderful items.  They reminded me of the premise of Operation Christmas Child:  one box from one family/person to one child.  Tho many of us pack in multiples, we can still make them individual in some way--just as the child receiving it is.

DIY Easy Coloring Books, Drawing Pads & Sketch Pads for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

DIY Coloring Books and Sketch Pads.  Sized to fit Operation Christmas Child GO shoeboxes.

I have had a hard time finding nice coloring books small enough to tuck easily into an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. I have often seen packers printing their own.  I've finally decided to take the plunge.  [I'll share the how-to's at the bottom

Shopping for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stuffers ~ Poster Image to Share for Collections

My friend collects shoebox items for Operation Christmas Child year round at her small business.  I often make her signs to share on her Facebook page and to print and post in the store.  Here is my latest.  I wanted to share it in case any of you can use it in any way for your own collections.  I thought it was a good time to share how stuffing shoe boxes is much like stuffing stockings and while we pick up our stocking stuffers we can pick up shoebox stuffers.

You are welcome to print or use the image online.

Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Stuffers Collection Sign

You can find more shoe box supply collection posters thru this link:  Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Printable Resources.

Teddy Bear Day ~ First Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for 2015

My friend runs a brick and mortar discount craft store.  She recently opened an online store, The Rag Bag of Shelby [Updated:  no longer in business], and donated fabric for me to make a dress for one of my shoe boxes.  I got to "shop for free" at her online store.  I chose this sweet cotton fabric Teddy Bear print--it is a Boyd Bears print.  It so soft to the touch.  So I began to build my first shoebox for the 2015 Operation Christmas Child collection around this dress.

The Rag Bag of Shelby Teddy Bear Fabric

Do you remember the Kohl's Cares Bear I wrote about earlier that I just couldn't resist?  He will be tucked inside the box with the dress.  I added the blue bow to

Picked Up A Few OCC Shoebox Items at CVS Black Friday Sales ~ Freebies & More

I was able to take advantage of some free CVS shopping this week for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  They had two ads and several items fit perfect in the "what to pack in a shoebox" category.  Here's what I got and how I paid.  You can still get in on the CVS Ad for 11/27 as the deals go thru 11/29, Saturday.

Paid $8.02, Saved $24.60, received $13.34 in Extra Bucks (rolled some on these deals).

Total Savings for the week (see details below):  $24.60 or 67% with

WANTED Poster: Beanie Babies for OCC Shoeboxes & A Bountiful Donation

I shared the Beanie Babies collection image I made earlier.  But I changed it into a WANTED Poster and wanted to share it again in case any one could use it.  I emailed the image to my friend and she shared it in her small business but didn't get any donations for several weeks and then....well, see the image below!  My Operation Christmas Child stockpile is full of animals now.

Avon Pile O Beans animals for Operation Christmas Child

These are actually Avon Full O'Beans animals. They were delivered brand new in the

A Surprise Source for Empty Shoeboxes to Pack for Operation Christmas Child!

Empty shoe boxes from youth soccer team for Operation Christmas Child

Last year when we were putting on a spur of the moment Operation Christmas Child packing party for the kids at church we found we were short on shoeboxes.  We asked a friend with a small business to put out a plea on her Facebook page for empty shoe boxes.  We received several dozen.  One of her customers remembered this and when they had empty shoe boxes from their youth soccer team they sponsor they called her to ask if we wanted them.

Of course we did!  Twenty-two youth sized, sturdy boxes -- just perfect for 2 to 4 year old boy shoeboxes, I don't even plan to wrap them as they are a nice bright blue.

So if you need more empty shoeboxes for your OCC shoebox packing, check out your local youth sports teams and ask them to save them for you.  For more information on boxes to pack in check out this post:  What Types of Shoeboxes to Use for Operation Christmas Child Packing.

Packing Teddy Bears ~ I Couldn't Resist for my Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

Could you resist these sweet bears?  I had won a Kohl's Gift Card from a blog giveaway and while shopping online for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, I saw these Kohl's Cares Bears on sale for just $2.50. I knew they were a little big and messaged a friend who I knew had seen some of these and asked if she thought they were too big for a shoe box.  Yes, she did.  But they were so cute!

And really they would be free and well, I just couldn't resist.  Surely since the original price is only $5 they couldn't be THAT big.  So I added just one to my order...my first order that is.  I just had to test him out.

Kohls Cares Bear for OCC shoe box
I added the blue bow.  I hope to decorate each a different way for each box.

He is so soft and cuddly and squishy! That's it!  He is squishy!  We all know that is a good thing when packing shoeboxes.  I squeezed him into half of a Reebok

Organizing Storage--New Shelves: Preparing for 2015 OCC Collection Part 3

Christmas came early to my house!  And not only in the Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts we packed.
I outgrew my laundry room shoe box stockpile storage. 
I shared a few months back about my Shoe Box Stockpile Organization in my laundry room.  How I sort everything into Banker Boxes throughout the year as I shop and craft.  This year I outgrew that space and went looking around my basement for additional room.

There is a long, wide hallway beside the furnace room.  It is along the back wall and is mostly hidden from the living area -- well, sort of hidden. Nothing a couple of curtains wouldn't fix.  I thought it would be perfect for shoe box stockpiling with at least twice the storage I currently had.

With that large of a space I needed an economical way to "shelve" my boxes.  I didn't just want to stack the banker boxes from floor to ceiling as I don't have the strength to be moving them to add

Divide & Conquer: Preparing for 2015 Operation Christmas Child Collection Part 2

For years we have shopped and picked up whatever bargains or fun things we could find and then divided the goods by age group when we packed our Operation Christmas Child.  We knew shoeboxes for 10 to 14 year old boys were the least received so we tried to lean heavily in their direction when purchasing items.  There were also several items that we always put in each box, but beyond that we would fill the shoeboxes with whatever we had.  This year I wanted to do it a little different. I wanted to "divide and conquer."

I discussed it with family members and they agreed.  We would each choose one age group and gender and be in charge of making a list of items we wanted to include. This way it wasn't so much "my" project, but "our" project.  It would be a simple way to divide the decisions of what is important for each group.  Each packer will make the final decision for their group and it won't matter that we

NOT Setting Goals: Preparing for 2015 OCC Collection Part 1

As I begin to prepare for the 2015 Operation Christmas Child collection week (a year away) you would think the first thing I would do is set a goal.  But I am purposely NOT setting a goal.  Well, not a goal with an exact number of boxes to pack anyways.  My goal for 2015:  to pack as many shoeboxes as possible without tallying them.

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

The main reason I am choosing to not set a goal for the number of boxes I will pack is because I want to look at the individual box, not the whole.  I want to think about the ONE child who will receive the ONE box I am packing.  I am a "numbers" gal, so I tend to forget about the humanity behind the

A Happy Birthday Dress ~ For Dress A Girl Around the World

Oh what fun Birthday celebrations are!  Dress A Girl Around the World turned FIVE this year and part of the celebration is making birthday dresses!  I stumbled upon Dress A Girl a couple of years ago while searching for pillow case dress instructions for my shoeboxes.  I jumped in with both feet and got heavily involved just like I have with Operation Christmas Child.

Pillow case style dress in celebration of Dress A Girl Around the World's fifth birthday.

I have donated well over 100 dresses and have gotten to see several on little girls around the world.  This last year I have cut out sewing for Dress A Girl directly and have sewn exclusively for my shoeboxes--still dressing girls around the world, just thru a different delivery system.  When I saw the birthday celebration I knew I had

Delicious Fabric for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Dresses!

Can fabric be delicious?  Well, if it could this fabric would be on the desert bar.  It is just lovely in pattern, color and texture.  I just couldn't keep it to myself, I had to let you all see it!  I can't wait to cut into it to make some dresses and skirts for Operation Christmas Child shoebox girls.  But first I want to thank my generous benefactor:  Robin of Red Thread Stitches.

A while back my friend, Kristy, from Hopeful Threads told me about her friend's Etsy shop sale and that she was sponsoring a giveaway of a $25 shopping spree to her shop.  After looking at her lovely

2015 Packing Experiment: Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes Packed & Shipped with $0 Out of Budget

Packing OCC Shoe Boxes for Free Experiment 2015

Now that my 2014 shoe boxes are packed, I have an unusual packing experiment planned for the 2015 Operation Christmas Child collection.  I am going to see how many boxes I can pack and ship without spending any money from my personal budget.

I think it is safe to say most everyone who packs a shoe box wishes they could pack another.  Those who pack many wish they could pack many more.  So I have decided to seek out ways to pack more and share my journey here at Simply Shoe Boxes so others may be able to take advantage of some of these and also have the opportunity to pack more boxes.

Below is a list of many of the ways I hope to acquire items to fill my shoeboxes.  As I go thru the year I will elaborate more on each one and hopefully post reports on how my stock is adding up.  And I

Surprise Additions to Planned Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

When I began packing, I had some fun additions to some of the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes I already shared here.  I thought you might like to see the additions, too.  Do you remember my "Bunny in the Garden" box?

Garden apron and gloves for a 10 to 14 year old girl's Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

When I went to finish packing my boxes I had two fun additions.  First my daughter finally found some garden tools for my garden apron boxes.  Best thing about it?  It cost just 10 cents!  And

Super Saturday Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Shopping

The Saturday before our family Operation Christmas Child packing party my husband and daughter went shopping for the last things we needed to fill out our shoeboxes.  They came home with a bit more.  Those dollar stores and Dollar General clearance sales can get you every time!

The only things on their list were toothbrushes!  And look what they found!  These were $1 for 10!  We took one out and tried to pull out the bristles and they held tight.  The handles are thinner than normal, but are nice plastic and flexible.  I was so excited.  I hope they get these in again as we bought all they had and it was just enough for this year's shoe boxes.  EDITING to add:  Sarah did a review of these toothbrushes since many readers were finding them in various stores.  You can see it here:  New Sight Toothbrush Review.

While at the local dollar store my husband found a large round rack with $1 shirts hanging on it.  He

The Last of the 2014 Dresses for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Here are my final Operation Christmas Child dresses for 2014.  They are all packed up and delivered to our church to start their journey to the little girls who will hopefully enjoy wearing them as much as I enjoyed sewing them.  And hopefully some will find their way to girls who need them for protection as I explain in this post:  Why I Sew Dresses to Include in my Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

Hearts and Flowers in Pink and Purple.  This is a seersucker type fabric.

A Fun Find! $11 Sewing Kits for $1 Each ~ Perfect for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Guess what's on my Christmas wish list? Sewing kits!  My daughter stumbled upon these great Singer sewing kits while at a local dollar store picking up the last of the toothbrushes we needed for 2014.  She bought a few for my 10 to 14 year old boxes this year and said they had dozens left.  I quickly added it to my Christmas wish list!  I love getting presents I can use in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Sewing kits for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Some had these stickers on them showing the original price as $10.99.

They contain larger scissors and these little scissors in the mending kit inside.  My daughter wants to add extra needles -- she says needles are easy to loose and their thread will be useless without them.  I

The Life Saver Snowman Box ~ How an Operation Christmas Child Theme Shoebox Came Together

I think everyone who has been reading Simply Shoe Boxes for any length of time knows I love to do theme boxes for my Operation Christmas Child kids.  They just seem to come together without much effort sometimes.  Such is the case with the Life Saver Snowman Box!

I shared how I came across a ghost beanie baby in a lot I had purchased for my shoe boxes.  I transformed the little guy into a snowman by removing his tongue, his "tail" and the "peak" on his

Hot Wheels & Matchbox Car Totes for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gifts

My daughter had a half yard piece of black and white checked fabric she had used in the center of a table for our annual AWANA grand prix (like the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby).  When they canceled any future races it was her job to find new homes for all of the supplies--and my Operation Christmas Child shoebox stock benefited.

Hot Wheels car drawstring bag

She also had a dozen or so new, in package Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars.  They allowed the smaller children, who couldn't make a car, race these.  Checkered flag and race cars – a perfect match.   I love it when one man’s trash becomes a

What to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox ~ Free Poster

My friend is collecting crafted items for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes at her craft store and customers were asking about packing their own. I made this sign for her to share to invite them to pack their own. I wanted to share it here so you can all use it if you want. Share it online or print it off and hang it at work or around town.  If you'd like more ideas about what to put in shoeboxes, you can see our posts of what we packed in 2015 in boxes for a  Girl 2-4 OCC ShoeboxBoy 2-4 OCC ShoeboxGirl 10-14 OCC Shoebox, & Boy 10-14 OCC Shoebox .

Remember this is for the United States, if you live in a different sending country, the requirements may be different.

UPDATE:  As of 2017 in the USA we can no longer send toothpaste & candy.  Here is a corrected poster.  We hope to update this soon with a new design!

Free Poster to print or share.  What to pack in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox 2017.

Twins ~ Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Crafting Progress Report

This week's Shoebox Sewing & Crafting for Operation Christmas Child  includes Twin Sets.  I have read of people doing "twin boxes." They either put two of everything in one shoebox or make two matching shoeboxes.  This came to mind with these two projects.

Brother & Sister Set

After sharing this fabric and teddy bear on Simply Shoeboxes' Facebook page asking should I use it for a boy or girl I decided to make both since there seemed to be a tie.

Pillowcase dress for Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

I had this little short set with the red shirt from a Dollar General clearance sale.

2 to 4 year old boy shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.

I needed another teddy for the little boy box and found this red fella just waiting to be sent filled with

Preparing Toddler Puzzles to Fit Into Operation Chrismtas Child Shoeboxes

Adding puzzles to Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
I shared earlier how I had received a couple dozen toddler board puzzles that were too large to fit into my Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.  I also inherited some wonderful Noah's ark fabric that matched the theme of the puzzles.  Well, with my daughter's help we have finished the puzzle project and have 23 ready to

Involving Mom in My Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing

My elderly mother lives with us and is virtually home bound.  We purchased this house with her in mind because it has a mother-in-law suite (fancy words for two little connecting rooms and a bath).  At that time she could no longer cook or drive but otherwise could care for herself.  This has changed greatly.

Each day she seems weaker and more confused.  She never receives visitors and rarely does mail arrive for her.   Finding things to keep her interested is a challenge because of the confusion and weakness.

Pillowcase dresses, panties and tops for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

I always keep her abreast of what I am doing with my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  Since it is all in the basement and she can't go down the stairs she can't see what I am doing.  Each time I sew a dress or apron I take it for her to see.  I kept wishing she could help me sew somehow, as she sewed much in her younger

WANTED Poster: Empty Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

I have gathered many more packing items this year than expected!  What I didn't gather was enough shoeboxes to pack into!  What a great problem to have, tho!  Better than the other way around.  To help remedy this I made this WANTED poster.

My husband took it to work and hung it on the bulletin board.  Not only did he get empty shoeboxes he got inquiries of how they could pack their own Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  Glad I had some extra brochures to send in!

I wanted to share it here so you could all use it if you'd like.  Just fill in the drop off information.  You can share it online or print it off--it even looks nice in black and white.  I added the note about packing their own after we got questions about that.

You can find more shoe box supply collection posters thru this link:  Shoe Box Printable Resources.

The Hare and the Garden Apron for An Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

My Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Sewing & Crafting for this week includes another garden apron for a 10 to 14 year old box.  The color in my images is not too great, sorry about that.  The lighting was bad and my camera has been doing some wonky things!

Garden themed shoebox for 10 to 14 year old girl Operation Christmas Child.

Once again I began with the flip flops and matched the fabric and trim from what I have on hand to

Tips on Writing a Letter to Include in Your Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

How to write a letter to include in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

An important part of packing an Operation Christmas Child shoebox is a letter to the child.  It helps make the gift more than just "things" but a reminder that they are cared about.  Some recipients are in orphanages and may have no one who "belongs" to them.  We all want to feel special and that we "belong" to someone.  So, this is a great thing to include.  And if at all possible, please include a photo.  It gives them a real connection to you, helps them picture you/know you are a real

Prepping for Our Family Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party

I've been working, along with my daughter Sarah, opening all the packages, throwing away or recycling what packaging we can and taking inventory of our  Operation Christmas Child shoebox stock in preparation of our upcoming family packing party.  Here are just a few of the items.

School Supplies:

Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing party organization.
 Stuffed Animals:

Why I Add Trim to the Hem of My Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Pillow Case Dresses

I like to keep things simple when packing my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes or crafting items to tuck inside. The simpler I do things the quicker I can do them and the more I can make and thus the more I can pack.  But I love adding just a little touch of something special at the hem line of my pillow case dresses.  I imagine the little girl looking down at her dress while wearing it and the part she can see the easiest is the last several inches.  So I love to add a little extra fun for her to enjoy.  My favorite, and what might become my "signature" is the last one.

Decorative ribbon -- such a fun addition.

Ribbon and roses -- just a tiny touch of femininity.

An Added Pop of Color -- on busy prints adding a little addition of a plain fabric and some colorful

A Trio of Aprons ~ Operation Christmas Child ShoebBox Crafting

My Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Sewing & Crafting for this week includes a trio of Aprons for 10 to 14 year old girls.  I began with the flip flops I had on hand and matched the fabric to them.  From there I match them with the bias and quilt binding and then yarn for matching hats.  Because I use prepackaged bias and quilt binding these whip up quickly.  Thankfully I have a lot on hand inherited from my mother-in-law and also some I was able to pick up for just a quarter at a closeout craft store, otherwise I would be making it from the fabric.

The flip flops and fabric were donated by Kristy of Hopeful Threads.

A Bounty of Freebies ~ Putting Others' Leftovers to Good Use in OCC Shoe Boxes

I love it when I receive unexpected shoe box supplies for packing my Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts. Check out all these goodies that didn't cost me anything.

Operation Christmas Child Stockpile

Our church has decided to move in a new direction with their children ministry so they have canceled our AWANA program.  My girls were jointly in charge of the

Tea for Two Inlaws ~ Crafting for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

This week's Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Sewing & Crafting brings our families together.  I inherited this black and white tea cup fabric from my sister via my mother and niece.  When my sister died a couple years ago she had several pieces of fabric she had gathered to make my mom a quilt with a Tea Pot/Tea Cup theme. Her daughter gave it to my mom who passed it on to me to use for my dresses.

When I saw it on my fabric shelf I decided it was perfect to make into a dress in honor of my husband's cousin who is like a sister to him.  She wears a lot of black and white and she enjoys a

My Free Amazon Shopping for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

I love putting high quality items in my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and shopping for free is the funnest way to obtain them.  I recently took inventory and made a list of what I still needed to fill out my boxes.  I then went shopping at Amazon with free gift cards I had earned thru Swagbucks to pick up some of the items.
Combs -- 6 pack = $3.49
Wooden Spoons (to go with my aprons) -- 12 pack = $5.16
Tennis Balls -- 12/3 packs = $26.46

With just a few minutes a day on Swagbucks I easily earn $5 to $10 in  free gift cards each month for online activities.  I save them up until I have $40 so I can get free shipping at $35 and have enough left over for tax.

Do you earn on Swagbucks or other online earning sites for your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes?  If you'd like you can sign up thru my referral link above and start earning free gift cards for yourself and when you earn I will earn a little too.   If you'd like to learn how to earn at Swagbucks you can visit my other blog where I have Swagbucks Tutorials.

Also, each Saturday Sarah shares our additions to our stockpile.  You can see them all here:  Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ Adding to Our Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile.

Match It Game Won in Blog Giveaway for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gift

Back in June I decided to fill more Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes which meant I needed to get creative financially.  I decided to work on entering blog giveaways for gift cards or items that I can tuck into a shoe box.  I enter at least several every day.  I have won several so far--some have entries of less than 100 and some well up into the thousands.

Two things get accomplished by the wins.  I can have a higher quantity of items to pack, but also I can have some nice quality items to pack at no extra cost.  These beginner matching puzzles are a great example.

They are made by The Learning Journey.  They are constructed of heavy, thick cardboard with bright colors and a glossy surface.  I laid a 6" sewing measure beside them in this image to try to show you their size. They are about 5" square.  I won two boxes of them and each has 15 sets.  I am dividing them into sets of five each and will make little tote bags to tuck them into.  This will give me enough for six of my 2 to 4 year old shoe boxes.

What are your creative ways to fund your Operation Christmas Child shoebox habit?

If you want to see what else we get to pack you can check out our series here:  Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ Adding to Our Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile.

Fit for a Princess ~ Crafting for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

I just love how shoe boxes come together.  My weekly Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Sewing & Crafting includes a special "designed for a princess" set.  This grouping began last Christmas when my daughter gave me the little princess doll.  She knows I love dolls and wanted to give me

A Gardening Apron for An Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gift

A dear friend I met on Facebook sent me a box full of fabric and laces to sew dresses for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  At the bottom were several flip flops! I was so excited and began matching flip flops to fabric.  There were two pieces with gardening tools on them and flip flops that matched that would fit older girls.  So I quickly decided they would be perfect for gardening aprons.
Garden Apron for OCC shoe box

Crafting For Shoeboxes challenged us at the first of the year to make something for a shoe box that we had never made before and an apron was on my list.  I had fun

Crafting for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes ~ Dotted Pastels

Once again this week's Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Sewing & Crafting includes a dress and drawstring bag I made from fabric donated by Kristy of Hopeful Threads.  The colors don't show well, but there are pale dots of pink, green and yellow in the fabric.  And even tho this is a very light

Surprise Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Supplies

I just love it when I receive surprise Operation Christmas Child shoebox fillers.  I am also often surprised by the source of some of my fillers and crafting supplies.  I have received some great items from online friends...ladies I have never met, but who share with me so I can share with the children.

Piles of Panties for OCC shoe boxes
Pile of Panties - 30+
Last week a gal I met online thru our passion for sewing dresses for girls in crisis situations and the ministry of Dress A Girl Around the World, offered to send some panties to go with my dresses I am sewing for my shoe boxes.  By the time she packed the box and shipped it, it was bulging at the

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