You’ve got your lovely new Treads, but what to do with the leftover shoebox? These cardboard boxes make handy storage or material for arts and crafts projects - but there’s another way you can use your empty shoebox this time of year to really make a difference.

Operation Christmas Child was started back in 1990 by Dave and Jill Cook, with the aim to give Christmas presents presented in a shoebox to children in underprivileged countries. These children more than likely won’t receive Christmas presents of their own otherwise. The charity Samaritan’s Purse took on Operation Christmas Child as a project in 1993, and have delivered these gift-filled shoeboxes to over 146 million children in more than 100 countries.

Why take part?

Image source: Samaritan’s Purse.

Not only is Operation Christmas Child something fun that you can do with your own kids, but you’ll be making someone’s day when they open your box and see all the wonderful presents concealed inside! It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money either. Take a look around your local pound shop with your kids and make a game of getting the best presents for under a fiver. You can use this as a lesson in kindness to encourage your own kids to be thoughtful towards others, too, as they learn the benefits of doing something kind for others.

How to take part

It’s easier than you think! Your child’s school will most likely organise a collection of boxes, but you can always check where your nearest collection point is. Cover the box and lid with wrapping paper separately as they will need to be checked before they leave the UK. Then all that’s left is to decide what to put in it! Think about what age range you’re going to make a box for, and whether it will be for a boy or a girl. Perhaps your own kids will want to make one for someone their own age, so they will be more enthusiastic about what to put in it!

What to put in it?

Image source: Samaritan’s Purse.

Once they’ve decided who they want to make a box for, sit down with your kids and brainstorm what fun things they can include. Think about a mix of fun things and hygiene items, such as soft toys, notebooks and pens, a toothbrush and bar of soap. If you want to add some battery-powered toys, remember to include spare batteries with tape over each end; some of these children may not have the opportunity to source more if the ones in the toy run out. 

By including a good mix of things you and your kids will create the perfect gift to make somebody very happy! A deflated football with a pump; a small sewing kit; a small fishing kit; a compact mirror; a skipping rope; a yo-yo; small plastic animal toys… Your kids will have just as much fun deciding what treasures to put in the shoebox as the recipients of the gift will when they open their box!

There will be some items you won’t be allowed to include - such as sweets, toothpaste, and any liquids - so we’d recommend checking on the Samaritan’s Purse website what you can and can’t include.

Will you and your kids be creating a gift with your Treads shoebox? We’d love to hear all about it over on our Facebook page!

Lead image: Samaritan’s Purse.

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