Greetings from 30 degree Minnesota! The days are quickly getting shorter, the cold weather is moving in over our farm and homes, and Christmas preparations are already calling. What preparations??
I sometimes feel downright batty about the increasingly early pre-Christmas sales, the holiday catalogs that arrive in my mailbox starting at Halloween and the general chaos that surrounds this sacred holiday. I have always loved the whole holiday season, but I don’t love being told that mounds of gifts and dollars spent are the key to the happiest Christmas.
One Christmas tradition I don’t mind spending on well before December starts is packing shoeboxes. Yup, shoeboxes of gifts for Operation Christmas Child. Of the groups we support, this project is one of my favorite.
Since the Christmas before we got married, J and I have enjoyed wrapping shoe boxes and filling them with gifts for children. Last night we put the finishing touches on six of them. Only a three-year tradition so far, but one I definitely plan to keep up for many years to come.
With millions of children in need, it seems like our few boxes don’t make even a tiny dent. Then I remember each box will go to a special child and make an enormous difference to them personally. If you like the larger picture, over 8 million boxes were collected and given away last year – talk about being a part of something bigger than yourself!
I always worry a bit about whether the kids will like our gifts. Maybe they desperately hoped for a toy truck, a drawing set, a doll, or a new shirt, and I’ve gotten them the wrong thing. What if I’ve picked something they don’t understand or even know how to use? Each year I jabber about these worries and pack boxes the best I can in spite of them. I know I fret too much about the gifts I give and these important boxes are no exception.
Because collection week is in mid-November, these boxes also provide perspective for the rest of our Christmas giving. (And for all you fellow runners out there, they are a great way to use those endless shoe boxes you go through :-))
This fuzzy little elephant was one of my favorite purchases this year.
Even if you’re not a runner with lots of empty shoeboxes, you can still use the packaging for these…
to make some of these…
Your regularly scheduled blog program (cows tales and running tales) will return in a day (or so).
Do you have any special donations you look forward to making at certain times of year?
Note: I normally don’t post a lot about specific groups, organizations, brands, etc. I figured I should let you know that I don’t have any association or vested interest in Operation Christmas Child or Samaritan’s Purse – other than as one of many shoebox donors.