50+ Operation Christmas Child Ideas

  50+ Operation Christmas Child Ideas

Follow Me on Pinterest My OCC Pinterest Board.

Operation Christmas Child is very near to my heart so I thought I’d give you some Operation Christmas Child Ideas. Each year here at Mummy Deals I host a HUGE packing party and last year we packed 1000 shoeboxes. Lots of people keep asking for ideas on what to put in the boxes so here ya go.

Operation Christmas Child is run by Samaritans Purse and in 2012 I had the privilege or traveling with them to Ecuador to deliver boxes While there I met a little boy called Sebastian and gave him a box my boys – Isaac and Chase – had packed. It brought tears to my eyes and his Mom’s. I may never meet her again but I know Jesus touched her heart through a simple gift for her child.

As a Mom there’s nothing greater than watching a friend help your child.

Would you join me in helping other parents help their kids by blessing them this Christmas?

OCC is simple. It is a ministry that helps kids by giving them Christmas in a shoebox by packing gifts, toys and prayers for children in a simple shoebox for Christmas.

For me…….it’s giving them Jesus through a shoebox.

Here are 50+ Operation Christmas Child Ideas. If you have more ideas, please comment!

The number 1 item in every shoebox should be a personal letter from your family.  The candy will get eaten, the toys will break but those letters will remain with people for a loooooooooooong time.  When we handed out boxes in Ecuador one church had put letters in all their boxes and some of our kids got it.  They were so thrilled to open the box and I took a photo of the letter and the child and when I came home I sent the church a photo of their OCC Child with the letter! What a huge blessing that church was!  You can print a letter to fill out on the OCC website here.


  • washcloth. Perfect to wrap around a soap!
  • soap – please wrap in foil and label soap or double baggie so that your candy doesn’t smell like soap! NO liquid soap.
  • comb
  • hairbrush
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Socks
  • underwear


No soft candy, only hard. Some examples: all wrapped HARD CANDY such as Jolly Ranchers, suckers, Life Savers, Tootsie rolls… Sweetarts, smarties… (NOT the chewy ones!!) Tootsie Pops, Blow Pops.


* No weapons or war-related items

  • small baggie of beads and yarn so that they can make a necklace or bracelet
  • Lego mystery bags or small kits
  • small cars or mini trains
  • bouncy ball. Old Navy has them for $0.25
  • Googly eyes
  • train whistle
  • Pens and pencils
  • Craft kits
  • Toy necklaces
  • Bracelets
  • stickers
  • Noisemakers
  • musical Instruments
  • harmonica
  • small bat and ball
  • Flip-Flops
  • dolls and doll clothing
  • Baseball cap
  • Bandana
  • Hair bows and headbands
  • Hair ties
  • Puzzles
  • Math games
  • Card games
  • yo-yos
  • jump ropes
  • small Etch A Sketch
  • water bottles
  • small colorful containers. Fill them with goodies so it’s a present in a present for them!
  • toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries)
  • Slinky
  • bead kits
  • Tote bags
  • Stuffed animals
  • small picture books
  • marbles
  • jacks
  • mini chess or checkers kit
  • rubix cube

mini craft kit

Upcycled baby food containers make great Mini Craft Kits.

School Supplies

  • Pens
  • pencils
  • sharpeners
  • erasers
  • crayons
  • markers
  • stampers and ink pad sets
  • writing pads or paper or Make your Own Notepads
  • crossword puzzle books
  • solar calculators
  • coloring books
  • picture books
  • glue sticks
  • staplers
  • Melted Crayons

Homemade Popsicle Bracelet

Operation Christmas Child Homemade Bracelet


Homemade Crochet Purse

Other Operation Christmas Child Video Tips

How to Pack a box for a 2-4 year old girl
How to pack a shoebox for a 2-4 year old boy
How to Pack a Shoebox for a 10-14 year old boy
How to Pack a Shoebox for a 10-14 year old girl
How to Pack a Shoebox for a 10-14 year old boy

How we pack for Operation Christmas Child all year round to pack more boxes!

DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out- of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

For other great Operation Christmas Child homemade ideas check out these links or visit my Operation Christmas Child Pinterest Board.

My trip to Ecuador in 2012 to deliver shoeboxes was a blast! I blogged lots of photos for ya!

At the end of February 2012 I was very honored to have been asked to accompany the Operation Christmas Child team on a trip of a lifetime to Ecuador to help distribute shoeboxes to impoverished kids. Although Samaritan’s Purse works with many American relief projects, OCC is an international project delivering hope and Jesus to kids some of whom have never seen a toy and struggle daily to eat. Can you imagine?

Please leave a comment with your Operation Christmas Child Ideas!


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  1. Thank you for sharing this information. The Opperation Christmas Child Shoebox ministry is very close to my heart too! How did you get involved with actually “going” and delivering in 2012? Have a blessed.day 🙂 Dianna

  2. How did you get chosen to go to Ecuador? I have always wanted to take a trip with the boxes!

    • Yup it was a crazy thing! I’ve been volunteering through the blog for years and then got to go. What an honor! Thanks Deb for commenting!

  3. Thank you for these awesome ideas.

  4. Carol Sherman says:

    I work in Gifts in Kind, Minneapolis/St Paul Processing Center. We love to see sewing kits and fabric for older girls and for older boys, tool kits. Deflated balls with pumps make great gifts also. I make puzzles from calendar photos and greeting cards. We appreciate all donations, especially soap, toothbrushes, pencils, paper and small stuffed animals.
    Thanks for all you do.

  5. I read a story about a child who wanted to learn gymnastics and they offered it at school but the kids had to have socks to participate so I usually include white socks. My kids do a box each so I also like to include stuff they like. One year there was a yoyo another year a jump rope. Whatever my kids liked at the time that didn’t require batteries.

  6. I’ve always dreamed of going to help deliver boxes. Could you please tell who I could contact to help make that possible?

  7. Wanted to say nice job & thank you. I am a relay center coordinator in IN for OCC. Would it be okay if I print & share your ideas @ our church??? It would help a lot for our upcoming packing party :). Thanks again!

  8. Do you mind sharing how you became a part of a traveling crew to deliver the boxes? It’s some thing I hope to do one day! Thanks!

    • Thanks Karey for asking! I actually was part of a promotion that OCC was doing and got to see it first hand because of the blog. Have a great shoebox season!

  9. I love this program…. I try to do one extra box each year. This year, Lord willing, we will do nine. I have a heart for the 10-14 aged boys. While volunteering for the relay center, I noticed that age group and gender received the least number of boxes. So, I try to pack the majority of mine for 10-14 boys.

    • I have always tried to do more older too Mandy with the same logic! Great to partner with you in helping the kiddos!

  10. Thanks for this post. A young lady in our church is organizing this for our community, as well as organizing a group to volunteer at a processing centre. Lots of great ideas posted here. One idea I saw last year when we helped with sorting boxes was putting in a water bottle and filling it with hard candy. It’s an efficient use of space and will keep the candy from tasting like soap . . if soap is packed. We weren’t allowed to leave the toothpaste in the boxes though. Thanks again for the idea list!

  11. Becky Anderson says:

    Make a large corkboard filled with summer ideas for shoeboxes to get people thinking about filling them early! People need to be reminded to buy extra school supplies and to look for rummage sale items to keep costs down. I find many new games, puzzles , t-shirts etc at rummage sales all summer. If you tell people why you are buying these items sometimes they give them to you free!

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