Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Family Holiday Traditions: Operation Christmas Child

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I plan to post over the next several weeks about some of our traditions. We are a relatively young family (our oldest just turned 7), so our traditions are still developing. I treasure the traditions we have for the family time they encourage and for the memories they stir of past holidays.

The first tradition I'd like to share this year is Operation Christmas Child. This tradition began for our family early in our marriage. I was first introduced to the project through the school where I was teaching. We have been involved in not only the filling of shoe boxes for children around the world, but we have volunteered for several years at processing centers in Charlotte, NC and Atlanta, GA.

More than ten years after our first shoe box, we are still participating in this project and are enjoying sharing it with our kiddos.

It's always so much fun to watch the kiddos as they work, listening to them talk about the children who will receive the boxes, and seeing the joy in their faces.

This year I separated the items we had purchased into two groups and let the kiddos pack their own boxes. I giggled when I saw their different personalities displayed in the way they worked.

Our daughter was slow and methodical, making sure to neatly organize as she packed.

Our son just threw it in the box any old way and tried to cram the lid shut. He did all of this as quickly as possible so he could get back to playing with his toys.

Guess which one I had to repack before taking it to the church?

If you've never heard of Operation Christmas Child, I encourage you to follow the links I've provided and learn more. I hope perhaps your family will get involved in sending material joy and spiritual news to children in desperate situations around the world.

What holiday (Thanksgiving or Christmas) traditions does your family have that involves helping others?


new mom in law said...

Leah Belle,

We too are doing Operation Christmas Child. I love knowing that somewhere, a child is having Christmas because of that shoebox. I am always humbled as I see the little things that make them so happy that we take for granted. Your children will always remember doing those things as a family.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

This is the first year in a long time that we haven't packed shoe boxes. Reading this post made me a little sad.

My friend and I coordinated it at our church last year and since we're still church shopping, it kinda fell of my radar. :(

It's such a great thing to do with kids. My kids love it (I'm not telling them that I forgot this year). We always include a picture and a note in our boxes and we've been very happy that we've gotten letters back a couple of times from the recipients.

Thanks for this post, Leah! I love that last pic of the box you had to re-pack!

Tonja said...

We are doing this at our church, too. This year the church provided those plastic shoeboxes for us, which made it very convenient. I think this is a great program, and I am so happy it is thriving so well. Anyone can fill a shoebox.

Cute pics of the packing methods!


April said...

P. and I packed four boxes this year. They have been sitting in our house for over a month and she frequently asked about the boxes. I was proud of her when she generously gave a toy that she recently got from a party to one of the shoe boxes. Oh I pray she keeps that gift of giving as she grows. Can't wait to do it again next year. God has been showing me ways I could give more and I pray I listen and follow His will.

Cathy said...

Operation Christmas Child has been something I have been doing for a very long time and I LOVE IT!
This year I am actually going to Charlotte where they do the final touches before shipping them out! I am soooo excited!

Amanda said...

Operation Christmas Child is something that we are involved in too! The kids love to pack boxes knowing that a child somewhere around the world will be opening this special gift from them!

This year I am going with our church to work at the processing center in Atlanta! I am so excited!

Jenn said...

Last night we went shopping for M.'s Angel Tree Boy. Each year every class at his school adopts boy and girl. I love taking the boys with me and have them help pick out things for the child. It is wonderful to see them wanting to help others. It is also a great time to talk with them about how much we have and we take time to thank God.

I enjoyed seeing you kids put their shoebox together. Your boys decision to "put" everything in as quick as he could made me smile. That is how my oldest does everything around here.

I am looking forward to reading your other holiday traditions. I hope you had a great time at the concert. Have a wonderful weekend.

Kathy's Corner said...

The Beachy Boys packed their boxes again this year - a fun tradition in Homer, AK, too. :)

Lisa said...

I love Operation Christmas Child! We have been helping an Indian Reservation for the last several years.

Love your blog!

Lisa Q