Friday, December 28, 2012

Start Your Christmas Shopping Now!

I've never been an early shopper, and lately I haven't done much shopping at all. But this week, with one year ending and one beginning, I'm formulating a plan.  My plan is to buy things each month for Operation Christmas Child.

I'm excited to say I'm helping with a packing party in January at church.  Yep, January.  It's early, and those boxes will sit still for a while, but come November, they'll be added to a large pile.  As a Christmas gift, one of my school parents gave me a donation for OCC, and I'll be using that money sooner than I thought to get some items for this middle and high schoolers' event.

I cannot wait!

Last night, I went to Target to go through their clearance items and Dollar Spot area.  I focused on my goal of building boxes for 10-14 year old boys, and so while there I picked up a few things.  A few girl things fell into my little basket too, but that's okay.  I didn't go nuts, I kept my age range and environmental impact issues in mind--for instance, no markers this year.  I found some coloring and sticker sets, bracelets, and toothbrush sets ($1.48 for two toothbrushes and a tube of toothpaste).

(Poor areas have poor waste disposal choices, markers don't really ever get used up.)

While putting those things away today, I came across a Samaritan's Purse brochure I'd saved detailing how to shop by months.  The guidelines are good ones, so I'll share them here with some notes from me (you know, 'cause I'm such an expert.  Not!):

Seasonal gifts (on clearance, this is my addition based on the above shopping excursion)
Toothbrushes and toothpaste 
(I make sure there is one of each in every box, can't send candy without dental care items!)
Plush toys  (If you're local, I have quite a stash, and I'll share!)
Hats, gloves, scarves 
(on clearance by then)
Boy toys
Girl toys
Boy clothing items (socks, T's)
Girl clothing items (socks, T's, flip-flops)
School supplies 
(Always send a sharpener with pencils, and only buy Crayola crayons!)
Soap and hygiene items 
(No liquids!  I hope to knit a washcloth for each box I pack. Lip balms.  Hair brushes and combs, and hair ornaments are fun to buy.)
Hard candy 
(Tootsie products, Starburst, and Skittles are great too!  Avoid Jolly Ranchers, they really liquify when hot.)

To each box, I plan to add Lego, something musical, drawing paper cut to fit in the box, one handmade item and a tennis ball (What boy doesn't want a ball to play with? Tennis balls are less than $2.50 a canister.)

A photo of you and a letter of love must go in each box.  This year, I watched a video of a little girl pouring over the photos in her box, and it made me cry.  

As for handmade items, well, I hope to meet with friends to make something each month!

If you participate with OCC, please, share your ideas.

I think this song will be in my mind and heart all year as I work on this special project.  Watch it, it's contagious..."Some say it moves like a Spirit!"


  1. I love this idea. I'm going to 'pin it' so I can keep the monthly list! Great thinking!

  2. This is a great, thoughtful list! Thanks for passing on the idea ...

  3. Great ideas! I only disagree with getting toothpaste in January, as that will put it about a year closer to its expiration (or possibly already expired) by the time it gets to its distribution center. Also, centers now remove toothpaste that isn't at least six months from its expiration

  4. Great ideas! I never realized Jolly Ranchers melted. While I always buy school supplies in August, I try to be flexible on when I buy other items based on sales. Sometimes the best ones are hard to predict. I have great success buying tee-shirts on clearance in November or December. This year I got tons of nice solid boy's ones for $0.96 at Kohls. Score!


I'd like to be humble and say I only blog to record the doings of my life, but really, I blog for conversation, and I would love to hear from you. It's okay if you don't agree with me, that's what makes life interesting.