Thursday, July 10, 2008
With all the great deals going on for school supplies, it got me to thinking about Christmas Shoeboxes. Samaritans Purse is a wonderful charity that distributes Christmas Boxes to underprivileged children all over the world. You can click here to get all the directions on how to pack your own Christmas box.
Get a box.
If you shop at Target you notice that the majority of their shoes come in boxes. Obviously if you are in the market for new shoes, just use that box. But you can ask your Target cashier if he/she has any empty shoe boxes in their garbage at the lane. You can also go through the shoe department and pluck out boxes that are already empty. Lots of people don't want the bulky shoe box at their home, so they just take the shoes and leave the box. Be sure to ask if it is OK before you leave the store.
Decorate the box.
This is optional, but it makes for a fun project for little ones. We have decorated our with everything from paint, contact paper, to wrapping paper. Use what you have around the house already. The wrapping paper doesn't have to be Christmas paper, just cheerful. You can also use old paper grocery bags and decorate with stickers. Use your imagination. Be sure to wrap the box "Hollywood" style, so you wrap the bottom separate from the lid of the box for easy opening.
Fill the box.
This is by far the most fun part. There is a detailed list of suggestions to pack on their web site.
This is the list of items NOT to include:
Used or damaged items;
war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures;
chocolate or food;
liquids or lotions; (including Purell products)
medications or vitamins;
breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers;
So aside from the above items, use your imagination again! Small toys, beauty supplies, school supplies, clothing, socks, hard candy, etc... Make sure it will fit into the box, and fit in as much as you can. You can also include a letter and picture of your family if you would like.
Drop off box.
My kids and I normally make a day of this. We talk about how these boxes will help children all over the world. They are even normally planning their boxes for the next year at this point. This is the link for drop off locations, they do not have the 2008 year updated yet. Drop off this fall is November 17 - 24th, so they can get them to the children by Christmas time.
What my family does:
I am always on the lookout for inexpensive toys and clothes to put into my box. I start shopping for our shoeboxes the day after Christmas. This year we have Target clothes (shorts & tops) that I got for $.74 each, harmonicas that were $.24 each, small stuffed animals $1.00 each, and countless crayons and coloring book for real cheap. This year thanks to discovering CVS, I already have countless tooth brushes, tooth pastes and deodorants. Go into your freebie stash to see what you can use too! If you are always looking for inexpensive toys and such, you can fill the boxes easily in the fall. I have a large box in my pantry that I keep putting the "finds" in. When it comes time to pack them, we sort through the stuff and see what fillers we need.
It is a great family tradition in my house, and teaches the kids to be grateful for what they have everyday.
So, while you are finding the great back-to-school sales on supplies, why not get a few extra crayons for a quarter and send them to some kids who would really appreciate them.
A blog about living within your means in todays world, while being married, raising three kids, working full-time, and trying not to go crazy in the process.