I’m not sure I even have the evidence of last year’s holiday season properly stored away and here it is time to drag all that stuff out again! Well, the spiral notebook is coming out and my holiday lists begin. Over the last few months, my tidy table in the workplace has been piliing up with completed gift projects, books for avid reader friends, Post-It notes to remind me where the Post-It notes are stored, ingredients for holiday menus, piles of ‘gotta try this’ on Thanksgiving/Christmas, and a bouquet of artificial flowers. I do not care for artificial flowers but my cats are afraid of them so that is my cat repellant of of choice.
I do have most of my shopping done as I started the week after Christmas last year. I never see something and think, “Remember to get one of those for whoever,” but always purchase it at time of sighting because I will either forget to put in on the list . . . or lose the list!
My freezer is ready for holiday baking . . . mostly. Butter is expensive so I’ve been stockpiling it in the freezer since June along with chocolate chips and baking chocolate. I have way too much Christmas wrap so don’t NEED to buy any but probably will if it is a.) unique and different, b.) on sale or c.)both.
I just finished packing my Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoeboxes and ended up packing two more than planned . . .overpurchased as I can’t resist buying for little children since mine are all grown up.
Hopefully and happily looking forward to Thanksgiving, my favorite meal to prepare of the year. I’ve been doing it since I was twelve years old and look foreward to it every year especially if I have a crowd around the table. And, that gives me the opportunity to start another list. My Thanksgiving list turns into the plural as I need the shopping list, the prep list for timing the food preparation, and the timing list for the actual day as my husband and I have some differences of opinion on who gets the oven first.
Times do be a changing, however, when it comes to holiday meals as one of our guests is a vegetarian, one is a total vegan, and my husband doesn’t eat sugar or gluten. My family and guests, however, are not overall picky eaters and you will find the carnivores enjoying some of the vegan/vegetarian options, too.
Operation Christmas Child®
Where has the year gone! It is already reminding us that Christmas is around the corner AND time to start packing Christmas Shoeboxes for the mission children overseas and other needy places. If you check out the pictures on the site, you will not be able to stop smiling as the children open their boxes to more fun and treasures they have probably seen in a lifetime at this point in time.
The computer site gives you all the information you need down to where to buy/order the necessary shoeboxes, what and what not to include, and many suggestions for shopping ideas. Don’t forget to include your young children in the process. It helps them to realize the blessing they have in life as they help you make a few, small dreams come true for children in other countries.
Addresses for times and drop-off places are are the site. Since a convenient one is near my husband’s office, he has been my carrier for the last few years and has come to enjoy the experience. They even have the people who come in join in a prayer for their own intentions and for the children who will be receiving the boxes.
My helpful suggestion. It is best to use one of the prescribed boxes but when you go shopping for items to fill the box, borrow a plastic shoebox from the store shelf as you go along to get an idea of how much you can put in a box about that size. The second half of my suggestion? Even though you CAN use a plastic shoe box, the new boxes you can order from the site are a bit bigger and easier to fill, festive and colorful. AND, you can always put some pretty stickers on the outside of your box, too.
I just ordered my shipping stickers for eight boxes this year. My husband is retiring next year and income will be less so we are going with sending extra this year.
Watch your dates! The Christmas Boxes for the Samaritan’s Purse need to be left at the site closest to you in your city/town. All the information is available on-line. The dates for bringing in your boxes is between November 12th through November 19th. Check their site for details and locations.
The best part is shopping and packing the boxes. I finished the tedious part of preparing them for delivery this morning. My husband’s part is delivering them to the collection site.
Now that my part is done . . . I can hardly wait to do it all over again next year.
Collection time is upon us so please go to the provided link and sign up to make a child . . . or two or three, so very happy this Christmas. The plastic shoe boxes complete with lids can be found at Walmart for under a dollar. They are in the plastic container aisle. Grab your box and then go shopping so you can see how much you can cram into the shoe box. Also, the link will tell you how to obtain the labels which do cost a small amount to cover the shipping. You will find the collection centers listed, too.
I’m packing my four boxes today – two boy and two girl boxes. Besides the candy, stickers and school supplies, I’ve actually managed to fit in a shirt for each of the boys and a dress for each of the girls. Still have a few things to buy to tuck into any spare corners. I tend to overbuy but tend to make it all fit!
I know times are often difficult around the holidays in our own homes but our children always get something for Christmas. These children overseas might not get anything if people don’t share what they have and insure at least one box is in the bunch being sent out in a few weeks. Don’t forget to enclose a Christmas card and a little note as the children cherish the thought and effort.
November is my favorite month of the year and not for the usual ‘turkey’ reason you might think! November is when I start planning and buying for my Samaritan’s Purse Christmas shoe box for children in far away places. This will be my third year and I’ve gone from doing one box the first year all the way up to four this year. What can I say? I’m addicted and love thinking about some child in strapped circumstances finding a shoe box loaded with all kinds of unexpected items including one special thing like a tee shirt or baseball for a boy and a pretty dress for a girl. It is amazing how much you can cram into one of the plastic shoe boxes you can find at Walmart for under a dollar. My younger daughter started doing shoe boxes for the first time last year. She is hooked now and planning to do two of her own. Besides, we like the challenge of my husband saying, “You are never going to get that stuff packed in that shoe box and proving him wrong!
I usually buy my proposed shoe boxes in the summer. Every time I find something cute, fun, or useful for my chosen age group, I buy it and toss it in one of the four boxes I already have on hand.
Truth be told, depending on what you buy, it can cost around $30 including the $9 donation to go towards the shipping. It is a challenge trying to keep within a budget but when I look at what has been purchased for my own children compared to this simple shoe box, I buy what I need for some child’s first real Christmas and worry about the cost later.
My husband’s part in this is taking our boxes over to the collection center. There are collection centers all over the country so most everyone finds a convenient one. Last year, he was one of a small group at the center at the same time. The person in charge asked each person to state something in their lives that needed prayer and the people all gathered in a circle, holding hands, and praying for each other and for the safe and happy delivery of each Christmas box to a happy child.
Interested? https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ Some people have told me that it just doesn’t fit into their Christmas budget. The only way we can manage is to consider the overseas recipient children as part of our Christmas costs treating them like one of our children. And, if you start in the summer to start stockpiling items, you usually only have to get a few more items and the box is quickly packed and on its way.
I had my ‘charitable’ afternoon yesterday. I got the shoe boxes packed, sealed and ready to be dropped off in November. I had enough time to get eleven Rosaries made, and packed some items to send to the people we help through Unbound. I still owe all five of them letters but I think a surprise treat will earn me some forgiveness for being late.
My daughter even got interested in the Samaritan’s Purse annual shoe box drive this year and had a great time finding the perfect items to put into her box. She is already planning her shoe box for next year.
There is still time to brighten some child’s Christmas with probably the first real Christmas they have had. Just google Samaritan’s Purse – Christmas Shoe Box Collection and you will find a multitude of information. The cost is seven dollars per shoe box you send which helps the organization offset the steep costs of shipping them overseas.
Interested in ‘adopting’ a child or elder overseas, https://www.unbound.org/ Unbound is the link to check out. We have been doing this for 15 years and it has made a real difference in our lives. You don’t just send support donations to a vast group of people but actually ‘adopt’ the child or elder of your choice and through letters and pictures develop an amazing friendship with the child/elder and their family. If you go on-line, you can see the pictures of the children or elders who are in need of a sponsor. Charity does start at home but, sometimes, charity needs an airmail stamp and a prayer!
Just ordered my labels for my Christmas Shoebox donations! The best part was getting to have an excuse to hang around the toy section to find dolls, cars, and all sorts of fun little items to stuff in my four boxes – two for boys and two for girls.
There is so much joy on the faces of the children who receive these treasure chest boxes of goodies prepared just for them. I’m thinking our children would grow up with more awareness of what is of value in life if we put more into what Christmas is actually about and a shoe box each for their Christmas!