What Can You Pack in a Shoebox for Operation Christmas Child?

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Are you packing a box for Operation Christmas Child? It’s not too late! National Collection Week is next week – November 12-19. Find a drop-off location near you. You may be wondering, “What can you pack in shoebox for Operation Christmas Child?”

What Can You Pack in a Shoebox for Operation Christmas Child

I urge you to check the official packing list before packing your box, but the short answer is – a lot! You’d be amazed at how much you can stuff into a shoebox. I unpacked ours this weekend to take pictures to show you.

Yeah, that was kind of a mistake. Apparently, I’d done a really good job of packing efficiently the first time. The second time was a little like trying to refold a map. It’s all for y’all.

We tried to include both fun and practical items.

Pick and Draw

I’m a Pick and Draw affiliate and I love getting the affiliate newsletter each month. Creator Rich Davis has taken or sent Pick and Draw cards to a huge variety of countries with various missions. It’s a game that seems to transcend language barriers, so I thought it would be great to include in our Operation Christmas Child boxes.

school supplies

We included crayons, mechanical pencils, and notebooks that the kids could use for school or for playing the Pick and Draw game.

plate and utensils

I read somewhere that often kids will show up at outreach locations to receive a meal, but they don’t have bowls or utensils. We included a plastic plate, utensils, and water bottle in each box.


We also packed socks, a t-shirt and underwear in each box. Based on a tip I read online somewhere, I rolled up the t-shirts and underwear, rubber banding them together so that they’d take up less space. It worked well.

soap and washcloths

personal hygiene

Personal hygiene items had a place in each box – soap, washcloths, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste (which I wound up removing from the box and placing in the water bottle to conserve space).

bag and candy

A bag of candy and a reusable sack were packed, as well. We thought the bags might be helpful in the kids’ everyday life.

knitted hat

Brianna knitted a cap for each child. She wants to get an earlier start next year, so she can knit them a scarf, too.


We wanted to make sure there were some fun items, as well, so we included what we hoped were universal toys – a top and one of those games where you try to catch the ball on a string in the cup.

If we get a chance, I may pick up some whoopee cushions. Um, yeah. Also online somewhere I read that those are a huge hit in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Apparently fart noises are universally humorous among children – and men.


Finally, we included a letter from each of our kids. You can find the printables on the Operation Christmas Child website.

Operation Christmas Child

Once everything was (finally!) packed inside the box (we used plastic shoeboxes, thinking the kids might could use them for something), we rubber banded the top and the box together and labeled it for age and gender.


We’ll include a check to cover shipping and drop the boxes off during National Collection Week next week. If you haven’t packed a box yet, you’ve still got time. Packing a box for Operation Christmas Child is easy!

If you have packed a box, what all did you include?

As a member of iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team, I write about the ministry on a volunteer basis.  All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.

This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. They are requesting everyone use the plastic shoe boxes now for that very reason. We volunteer at the warehouse and it’s amazing how people can pack so much in such a little box. It also takes a while to reassemble the puzzle pieces! 😉

    Last year we registered our boxes and paid online and received an email telling us in which country our box was distributed. So much fun for my son to know that fact…and me, too.

  2. we luv OCC, we saw on the video last year that the kids use the plastic shoe boxes for carrying water, so we decided that we will always send in a plastic shoe box. my lil guy luvs to watch his box go all over the world by paying for the shipping online. and i luv the all about me letter, i dont remember seeing this before. that is so sweet of your daughter! i never thought about a bag or shirt. thanks!

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