It’s amazing how much you can fit into a shoebox when you really start to think about it! Advent (a time of preparation, including giving to others, before Christmas) for Orthodox Christians begins on November 15. Operation Christmas Child collection week begins right after that. It’s great timing to talk about what Advent means for us.
I was surprised by how seriously my son (three years old) listened when I explained to him that we would be purchasing gifts to send to children around the world who may not otherwise receive any gifts. He was full of questions about why they might not have gifts if we didn’t send any.I love having a way to give back that is on a level that a child can understand. I love that it’s tangible, that he can see toys and art supplies being shared with other children instead of just being purchased for him.
Just for some ideas, I’m sharing our list. (I’m one of those clearance-crazed ladies who strolls the end caps of Target throughout the year and stashes everything in a box until Christmas time.) In our box: socks, underwear, tights, toothbrush/paste, soap, washcloth, school and craft supplies, a small teddy bear, small toys, hair bows, and to be added, combs, a little hard candy, small sewing kit, small tape measure.
Related to this topic, we are so happy to be able to be involved with child sponsorship through World Vision. As my son becomes more and more interested in geography, I’ve finally put up a map at his level with the locations of our sponsored kids to help him make the connection. He sees me writing letters for them, and he sees the letters and drawings that they send to us. It’s powerful stuff. Having the map up where I can see it often has been a huge help for me as well, helping me keep their needs and the needs of children like them in the front of my mind. I want my son to know that, while he is blessed, part of being blessed is giving back.
I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts with Operation Christmas Child and sponsorship!