Could your child make Christmas magical for another child?

Boy from Swaziland receiving a shoebox from Operation Christmas Child
Get your child involved with the largest children’s Christmas project in the world and pack a shoebox full of goodies to be sent to another child who may not otherwise receive a gift.

Worried that your child’s Christmas preparations involve rather too much flicking through a toy catalogue to select a long wish-list of items? This year, change their perspective by taking part in Operation Christmas Child.

For over 20 years, Operation Christmas Child (OCC) has organised sending shoeboxes of gifts to underprivileged children all over the world. These children may never have received a present before, or live in difficult situations where basic necessities are hard to come by.

These gifts that you pack inside the shoeboxes can be anything from sweets to sunglasses, toothpaste to toy trucks, or pencils to puzzle books. Just make sure it can fit in the shoebox dimensions given on the website, and falls within the categories they outline. OCC asks for a small donation of £3 to cover shipping costs with each shoebox, which can be given online.

Being involved with OCC gives benefits besides feeling good about doing something nice – it can help teach your children about the world around them. By donating online, you can print out a barcode that will track your shoebox; you’ll receive a notification of where your shoebox went, which is the perfect opportunity to learn about that country. Slip a bit of maths in there by working out the conversion between that country’s currency and GBP, or totting up how much the items in the box are worth.

It also ties into Personal, Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education. As you and your child pack your OCC box, talk about what it means for other children to live in different circumstances than they do, and to appreciate items that you and your child might take for granted.