The Value of an Alternate Gift: Operation Christmas Child

The Christmas season, depending on if and how you celebrate this holiday, IMG_0575can be all about kids singing carols, lights being hung up, gingerbread baking and everyone rushing to buy presents. It is celebrated by many people around the world. Trying to stay “good” to avoid being on the “naughty” list and waking up early to find a stack of presents under the tree is a tradition a lot of kids follow every year. Families spend hundreds of dollars to purchase presents for their family and friends.

I think that Christmas and gift giving are very important. Christmas brings a lot of joy and happiness to people. It can be a great time to bond with family and friends. Personally, Christmas is my favorite holiday because I get to spend time with family, and spending time with them is one of the best gifts of all.


Despite the joy that people feel when they give and receive gifts, though, many people can’t afford to buy gifts. And in different parts of the world, particularly impoverished places, gift giving isn’t always a priority or possible.

At my church I was introduced to a program called Operation Christmas Child that’s run by Samaritan’s Purse. The purpose of this program is to give children Christmas presents who aren’t as fortunate and introduce them to Christian beliefs through a 12 lesson Bible course (depending on the situation). All boxes are delivered to children around the world no matter what race, religion or gender they are. When I thought more about giving someone who doesn’t receive anything at Christmas, it made me realize that this is something I have to share with others. For me the process of donating a present is a very enjoyable experience.

It has become a tradition in my house to do put together boxes for Operation Christmas Child. To make this experience more fun, I get my two younger sisters to help me pack the boxes and this shows them how thankful they are to be living in Canada.

Here are the steps we follow to put together a box:

  1. First, I find a collectiIMG_4710on center that provides the packaging and information about the shoebox, such as my Church and school (Waterloo Collegiate Institute.) 
  2. Second, my sisters join in to choose which gender the box is for and the age group.
  3. Third, we find an empty shoes box (not too big) and fill it with school supplies, hygiene items and toys (nothing dangerous, breakable, hazardous, used, liquid items or food).
  4. Fourth, my sisters and I add a personal note and picture of us to the box.
  5. Last, we wrap the box with the packaging the collection centre provided or with Christmas wrapping paper. For shipping purposes I add a donation of $7.00 or more in an envelope on top of the box. We tape the age/gender group label on top of the box and if we lose the label, we reprint them at home from the Samaritan’s Purse website.

If you or your family/friendIMG_4714s want to pack a shoebox at home or online you can follow these steps or volunteer at a processing centre. The website also accepts donations too! 

After my sisters and I drop off our shoebox, we celebrate. We hope that our family changed a child’s life by providing them important necessities and toys.