Below you'll find ways to be intentional with your family as you participate in Operation Christmas Child. Pick the ideas that fit your family best, or make up your own!
Talk about the Principles & Engage God's Word
Discuss any or all of the following topics with your family, using Bible stories and scripture as much as possible.
- Explain how churches and other ministries use these boxes to do more than just give a gift! (See the main Operation Christmas Child page for the bigger story.)
- Why we serve those who are less fortunate
- Being thankful for what God has given us
- Materialism / "Loving stuff too much"
- Sacrificing for others
- The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
- The Wise Men giving gifts to Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12)
- Jesus' own lack of "stuff" when He was born (Luke 2:1-20)
Fill the Box Intentionally!
Operation Christmas Child is a great chance for your kids to get involved at an age-appropriate AND sacrificial level. Your entire family can share their "time, talents, and treasures" to give a gift to a child across the world. Some examples:
- Take your child to the store to pick out items for the shoebox. Encourage them to pick toys they might like.
- While used toys are not allowed in the boxes, if your child has a new / unused toy, that would be a great, sacrificial donation.
- Encourage your child to include things that connect with their "talents" - drawing a picture, writing a poem or story, taking a photo, decorating the box, including a toy connected to their hobby, etc..
- Let your child participate in sacrificially giving to this project. Maybe they can do extra chores to earn money, or pull from their own piggy banks to buy materials and toys. (Of course, seeing Mom or Dad do the same is a good thing!) Even if all they can afford is the $1 plastic box, allowing a child to invest while they serve is a great learning opportunity.
- For older kids, encourage them to dream up ways to earn money, get a lot of friends involved, or otherwise take Operation Christmas Child "to the next level"!
Follow Your Boxes
Watermark familes have the chance to serve more deeply, in a couple of great ways!
- Help us collect boxes at Watermark. You and your kids can be on the receiving end of all those shoeboxes, helping us give out information and collect shoeboxes from other Watermark members. Sign up and get more info here
- Volunteer at the Processing Center. This is a really fun way for individuals or even BIG groups to get involved, including kids 13 and older! You'll be part of an "assembly line" to inspect shoeboxes for problematic materials, add toys to boxes that don't have enough, and prepare boxes for the next step: shipment to children across the world! This year's center is Coppell. Sign up and get more info here
Watch Some Great Videos Together
Operation Christmas Child has a great library of videos at their site. See celebrities pack shoeboxes, watch amazing videos of kids overseas getting their boxes, and learn more about the "operation" of Operation Christmas Child. This can be a really rich way to deepen your family's understanding (and have fun!).
Be sure to reflect on the videos with your kids:
- What did they learn?
- Can they imagine themselves being in the same situation as kids around the world?
- What do they believe God's "greatest Gift" is?
Pray for the Kids Who Will Receive Your Boxes
Spend significant time praying for the children who will receive each shoebox, and their families! This could include putting a reminder up in your house, to see throughout the holiday season.
Also, pray for the ministry that will use each shoebox to connect with a child - and potentially connect with an entire family and town.