Change a Kiddo’s Christmas with Operation Christmas Child

Change a Kiddo’s Christmas with Operation Christmas Child

Pack up a gift donation in a shoebox to send to a child in need this season with Operation Christmas Child.

little boy holding Operation Christmas Child box

It’s the season of giving! ❤️

If you love to find ways to give back and make a difference, you’re going to love this inspiring & affordable way to make a child’s (or many kids) Christmas extra special this year.

While we all know Christmas isn’t really about the gifts, Operation Christmas Child will provide kids in need a surprise during Christmas they normally wouldn’t have received – and it’ll all be because of YOU!

boy filling clear totes with christmas stuff

How does Operation Christmas Child work?

It all starts with a shoebox — seriously! You simply take an average-sized shoebox, decide the theme of your box with a gender and age range, pack it up with sweet gifts, and send it on out to a deserving child in need. You can even track your box with a donation-based label to see where your gift ends up.


Want a little more guidance to pack an Operation Christmas Child shoebox?

green and red tote boxes in stacks

If you head to your nearest Hobby Lobby, you can grab a Christmas-themed tote in-store or you can even purchase them online if you’re staying home for the holidays. If you’re already shopping at Hobby Lobby, then this will be the perfect opportunity to add a few shoeboxes to your shopping cart and make some more personalized gifts for kids in need this year.

people with masks on packing Operation Christmas Child boxes

Once you’ve filled your box with items that will bring joy to any kid, find the nearest drop-off center to send it on its way. You can also opt for mailing in your boxes if it’s a better option for you.

Don’t have the time to build one yourself? There’s an option to build a shoebox online, too!

Collection week this year for Operation Christmas Child only runs from November 15th-22nd, 2021, so don’t miss this amazing opportunity! 

items not to include in operation christmas child shoeboxes

Hip Tip: If you’re curating your own Operation Christmas Child boxes, please keep the above information in mind when picking out your items.


OCC boxes in Jamaica

Our Hip Sidekick, Melinda, has been involved with Operation Christmas Child for quite some time!

Here’s what she had to say about her wonderful experience: 

“I’ve spent many years packing Operation Christmas Child boxes from the comfort of my home in the U.S. This was something my family and I loved to do through our local church. I enjoyed the experience of packing these boxes. It was so fun for my kids to find creative items for the boxes. We would include a picture of our family and personal notes in the boxes, too. We started tracking the boxes and got to see which countries they ended up in.

We then became missionaries in Jamaica. After four years of living in Jamaica, we were given the opportunity to help distribute hundreds of Operation Christmas Child boxes. Can I tell you the JOY these boxes bring children?! It was absolutely amazing, heartwarming, and so fulfilling getting to see in person the difference these simple boxes made to these dear children. What a privilege to play a small role in this ministry.

Now that we live in the U.S. again, we’re already planning the boxes we will be packing in the coming weeks!”


Need some inspiration? Here are some affordable ideas for your Operation Christmas Child boxes that you can order or buy in-store:


1. Kid’s toothbrushes are must-have items.

toothbrushes on display in a store

Buy kid’s toothbrushes at Target

Starting at just a couple of bucks, you can scoop up some much-needed essentials like a toothbrush. Kids are always in need of small items that make a big difference in order to contribute to good general hygiene, so don’t forget to throw in these must-haves.


2. Paintbrushes & paint to make their lives more colorful.

Crayola Oval Paints

Buy paintbrushes & paint sets at Target

Score some super affordable and creative additions for your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Some paint and brushes will make their year ahead extra vibrant!


3. A deck of cards for endless game options.

red and blue decks of playing cards in box

Buy playing cards on Amazon

A deck of playing cards can have endless options and they’ll even help younger kiddos practice or learn numbers and letters as they play! Whether they’re playing WarSpoonsGo Fish, or Solitare, they’ll have many entertainment options in one gift!


4. Coloring books & crayons to tune into their creative side.

hand holding a box of mondo llama crayons

Buy coloring books & crayons at Target

A coloring book and crayons will be a gift any kid will enjoy playing with! Not only will they get to express their creativity on paper, but they’ll get to surprise others with their masterpieces.


5. Surprise them with Mini Brands!

hand holding mini brands balls sitting on table

Buy Mini Brands on Amazon

If you’re looking to spend a little more on your box, consider throwing in one of these fun surprise ball Mini Brands! Each one is filled with miniature brands that could make any playtime more fun!


6. Keep their hands busy with fidget toys.

Monkey noodle sensory toys on a counter

Buy a pack of them on Amazon

A monkey noodle that takes up little space and can keep kid’s hands busy will be the perfect addition to your Operation Christmas Child shoebox! Not only will these keep kids occupied but they can even help kids who experience anxious tendencies.

Even better, there are 5 in a box for less than $10 so you can put one in each box if you’re doing multiple shoeboxes this year!

We love Monkey Noodles – read our full review here!


7. Stickers are simple additions that won’t take up tons of space.

pack of colorful stickers on sheet

Buy packs of stickers on Amazon

A fun pack of stickers will take up little space in your shoebox, but they’re plenty more fun! Plus, when it comes to kids, you just can’t go wrong with stickers! These are sure to bring joy to any little one and if you’re planning to add coloring books, they’ll have the perfect place to stick them.


8. Add a highly sought-after gift idea like some miniature squishies.

various types of small squishies in bags on counter

Buy a pack of them on Amazon

A pack of miniature squishies is another great gift idea if you’re looking to put together multiple surprise boxes for your donation. As an idea, you can order this 20-pack of miniature squishies for just $13.99 so each squishie per box will cost you less than a dollar!


9. Grab some funny Mad Libs to keep them laughing even after the holidays.

hand holding a mad libs book with dog on front

Buy Mad Libs on Amazon

Mad Libs is a nostalgic gift idea that will keep kids laughing after every page! They’ll get to practice their English verbs, adjectives, nouns, and more while reading hilarious stories they’ll come up with all on their own!


10. Keep them warm with a new hat & mittens for winter.

kids hats and mittens sets hanging on store shelf

Buy sets of hats & mittens at Target

There’s no denying that any kiddo in need this Christmas could definitely use a set of mittens and a hat to keep warm! If you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, you can find very affordable (& cute) sets over on Target’s website that will be sure to put a smile on any kiddo’s face!


Want to give back even more this holiday season? Check out our Reverse Advent Calendar idea!

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