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

Butterfly Themed Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxs for a Girls

I wanted to share a couple butterfly themed shoeboxes I packed for Operation Christmas Child.  A couple years ago I realized I'd ended up with a lot of "butterfly" items, and as I have an aunt who likes butterflies, I decided to make one in her honor, and included a photo of us together and in the recipient letter I told them I picked things I thought my aunt would have liked at their age.  This year I had so much stuff, I ended up making two butterfly boxes.  One for a 2-4 year old girl:

and one for a 10-14 year old girl:

When I do a themed Operation Christmas Child shoebox, what that means to me is while I stick to my normal list of things to include, I try to find versions of those items that fit the theme.  I may add an extra unique item or two, but on the whole it's the same list, just different types.  My basic list for those interested is:
  • Hygiene supplies (soap & casetoothbrush & case; washcloth; comb)
  • School supplies (lined paper, pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser, ruler, etc.)
  • Art supplies (crayons, watercolors, and/or colored pencils; plain paper and/or coloring book; stickers, etc.)
  • Ball
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Toy
  • Game
  • Something to wear
  • Whistle
  • Some sort of container (maybe a bag or tin)
  • And a family photo

For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for girls or our themed boxes

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 4/28/2018 ~ Fun Deals and Finds

I've hit a couple Dollar Generals over the last couple weeks for Easter clearance as it went from 70% to 90%.  Got some fun and useful stuff!

I also stopped at Might Dollar and got some pencil grips-I like to include one in each of the youngest kid's boxes.  Also a fun bug catcher with a magnifying lid.  I like the idea of sending science stuff.  If I stuff it full of other items, it shouldn't take up too much room!

By combining ECBs, mail coupon, sale, etc. I was able to get a good deal on some tennis balls at CVS which was a big blessing as we are really short on balls for this year's stock!  Also a little board book from Easter clearance.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $16.57  
Saved $41 or  71%

Saved thru clearance:  $21  

Saved through CVS deal: $20 

Kipp Brothers Products Ordered for OCC Review-December 2017

This will be my second post I've written reviewing items from Kipp Brothers that one could send in a shoebox (first review here).  I'm not affiliated with them, this is just things I ordered for my own shoebox packing, and just thought I'd share reviews of what I purchased so others could have an idea what might be useful to them.  This is for an order I did the end of 2017

First, since I re-ordered the jumping frogs, turtles, and wooden yo-yos from last year's Kipp Review.   The turtles were especially popular when we were packing, and we made a lot of game sets with the

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 4/14/2018 ~ Donations and Deals

We were blessed to get a couple large boxes of donations from Sew Delightful.    So many fun and useful items with which to fill up shoeboxes.  Beautiful sewn dresses!

Someone also had some pens they had bought for an event, but seemed unused:  checked them all and they worked great, and we could see they still had LOTS of ink in them.

I also had great success at Bargain Hunt-they had 50% off lowest marked price office supplies-got 10 packs of pencils for $0.19 & cute cases with 10 colored pencils & sharpener for $0.25...plus a few other fun supplies!

I was glad to find this nice, car themed notebook.  I'm planning a box in memory of my uncle who died last month and he liked cars!  Also a couple cute little dinosaur 3D puzzles. 

At CVS I was able to get a good deal on Irish Spring-after coupons and ECBs it worked out to less than 17 cents a bar. I'm excited because they're nice, big bars, plus are colorful and have a nice scent-almost makes the soap a "Wow" item-LOL!  Plus a little board book 50% off with Easter stuff.

Never shared a couple weeks ago that we got a few of the Dollar General BOGO cars and gloves 70% off.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $56.05  
Saved $234.03 or 79%

Saved through "Bargain Hunting":  $208.19
Saved thru clearance:  $2.84
Saved through BOGO deals: $13
Saved through CVS deals: $10

...plus even more value for shoebox packing with donations!

"Tool Belt" Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for a Boy 10-14 Years Old

One thing we've started including in shoeboxes for 10-14 year old boys through Operation Christmas Child is tools.  Normally just like a bundle of para-cord, a pair of pliers, or screwdrivers with a few mixed screws and bolts.   But I had this belt donated -it was actually a waiter's apron, but I thought it would work great as a tool belt, and I decided I wanted to add in a few more tools.  For instance some nice work/safety sunglasses I found, graph paper and squares, tweezers for splinters, etc.

I thought I would be fun to pack the belt/apron in the box with tools, etc. in it, but when I did it it nearly filled it up.

I didn't want to leave out anything on our basic packing list-still put in hygiene, school, and art supplies, clothing, whistle, etc as well as toys (including a ball and stuffed animal) with a family photo. 

So, I decided to "unpack" the belt, and it fit MUCH better!  I was able to get all of the above items in, as well!  I tried to protect the sunglasses. 

For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for 10-14 Boys!

The Right Way to Pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

So, there's a lot of opinions on the internet of the "right" or "correct" way to pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming-it seems like almost every item is being argued for and against, restrictions on exactly what form of that item you should send, and the list of "needed" things and super important sometimes seems so long you couldn't fit it in a suitcase let alone a shoebox!!  

Well, if you are in the USA I'm here to simplify it for you, straight from official OCC website (as of April 2018):
  • "Start with an average-size cardboard or plastic shoebox. If you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately...
  • Decide whether you will pack a box for a girl or a boy, and the age category: 2–4, 5–9, or 10–14...
  • Select a medium to large “wow” item such as a soccer ball with pump or stuffed animal...
  • Fill with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies...
  • Pray for the child who will receive your gift... 
  • You can also include a personal note and photo...
  • Label and... include $9 donation per shoebox...
  • Take your shoebox gift to a local drop-off location during National Collection Week." (https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/)  
  • Make sure you don't send "Candy; toothpaste; gum; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; seeds; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans." (From OCC - for more specifics check out FAQs)
That's it!  If you follow those simple instructions, you're doing it right!  Don't worry about other things you read on the internet, you are doing it right!!!

Relax, pray about what to send, and enjoy it!! Don't get me wrong, I love to read distribution stories, item reviews, look at packed OCC shoeboxes, get ideas how to fit more in the shoeboxes, etc. to get ideas of what I feel would be "best", but this is not right/wrong.  The only wrong thing is to go against OCC's official regulations (or if you feel led to send something specific within those regulations), as long as you're following that, you're good!  Now, if you'd like to know a little more info/ideas about what OCC thinks about what to pack in their boxes, they do have a little more ideas to share. 

First, they have a rather extensive ideas list for each age/gender group you can click through and get plenty of ideas.  

Another way to get ideas is to look at what they put in the shoeboxes you can pack online and see what it puts in.  For instance, I-for research purposes-went through the steps (but didn't check out) to "pack" a box for a 10-14 boy.  It would have Toothbrush, Comb, Pencils, Pencil Sharpener, Crayons, Coloring Pad, Notebook, Pens, Colored Pencils; Wow item (ball, toy car, soccar ball and pump, or baseball and glove); 2 of the following small toys (harmonica, Frisbee, wooden train whistle, Etch-a-sketch, Yo-yo, mini car, ball, whistle, or recorder flute);  and 3 accessories (flashlight, flip-flops, rubber band bracelets, watch, socks, shirt, calculator, or sunglasses).

If you follow the year-round packing idea list from OCC, this is what your box would have in it: 
   January --  Hats, Gloves and/or Scarves            July --  Clothing
    February --  Accessories       August --  School Supplies    
    March --  Quality Crafts       September --  Games
    April --  Stuffed Animals       October --  Letter & Photo   
    May --  Hygiene Items       November --  $9 Donation   
    June --  Toys    December --  Prayer

But remember, the only right/wrong part of packing is in bold above-that is the only requirements/official guidance.  EVERYTHING else is ideas, and ideas ONLY!! 

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