Happy Birthday, Mema! Our Operation Christmas Child Tradition

Every year, my kiddos pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with my mom. Mema loves shoeboxes! Instead of gifts on her birthday, she wants to pack gifts for children all over the world. I’ve been packing shoeboxes with my mom since I was in Junior High. I adore that my kids get this experience with her. Year after year.

 

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We collected items all year, and then put the boxes together in October. This year, we decided to pack 7 boxes. In Graham’s words: “Mema is fifty-two dis year! So seven is five plus two!” Seven boxes sounded like a fantastic idea. We had plenty of items to make wonderful gifts, and even had leftover items for our LifeGroup Packing Party in November.

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Graham takes his shoeboxes very seriously. He is extremely intentional with each item he chooses. He often matches colors or uses themes. But, most of the time, he carries on a dialogue with his imaginary friends about the child who will receive the gift. He argues for and against certain items. He even pretends to talk to the kid. Asking if he or she likes certain things. He exclaims at least a dozen times per box that “dis kid is gonna love dis!”

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Adelaide enjoys grabbing anything in sight and seeing how many times she can eat something inedible. She packed her boxes, took a bottle, and went down for a nap. We know she enjoys packing the boxes, because she often laughs, claps her hands, and grabs our faces to make eye contact.

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Miss Elizabeth Mae was fascinated by the toothbrushes, and spent most of the afternoon trying to brush our teeth. With her slobber. Lovely.

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But Bess did enjoy choosing the small toys and markers. She kept wanting to fill shoeboxes with only markers. Mean Mommy wouldn’t allow it. I won’t send a shoebox without soap, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, paper, writing utensils, a big item, candy, and a note. Those are my non-negotiables. Graham will teach her the ropes. ; )

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One of my goals for this year was to include a handmade item in each of our shoebox gifts. I chose the craft foam ornaments I made for Adelaide’s Lalaloopsy party last December. I loved those buttons and snowmen so much. It was a precious moment to pack Adelaide’s handmade ornaments into those boxes. It was like a piece of Addie’s story was traveling around the globe.

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We paid our $7 per shoebox shipping donation online, so we will be able to follow our boxes. It’s the best birthday gift for Mema. She receives emails as our boxes travel to the Processing Center, and then off to their new home countries.

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes allow children who have absolutely nothing to experience the love of Jesus in a simple, tangible way. Through hygiene items, school supplies, and toys, we get to send little Gospel Opportunities to the corners of the earth.

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It’s not too late to start your own tradition and pack a shoebox gift! National Collection Week is going on right now. From packing your shoebox gift to dropping it off, everything you need to know is easy to find on the website. You can even watch videos of children receiving their boxes!

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You can also ask me a question, and I’ll do my best to answer it. I’ve partnered with Operation Christmas Child for almost two decades. I would be ecstatic to see you and your family pack a shoebox.

Maybe you’ve already packed your shoebox. Be sure to share a photo in the comments. I love seeing the joy-filled faces of Jesus’ hands and feet! What a glorious way to kick off the Christmas Season.

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