Last year we took part in Operation Christmas Child for the first time.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this appeal, basically you fill a shoebox with presents and useful items for a child somewhere in the world who is otherwise likely to go without, wrap it in Christmas paper and the charity Samaritan’s Purse will deliver it to those in need. It is something we feel really captures the true spirit of Christmas and is also a really good way to remind our children just how fortunate they are to have all the toys they have, and all the basic essentials of life right on tap.
This year, like last, Lilly and I went on a special trip to the supermarket, armed with our Operation Christmas Child leaflet, to get all the goodies we were going to need to fill it with lovely treats. Although Lilly was only 2 (nearly 3) when we did this last year, we quite often still talk about the “little girl in another country who hasn’t got many toys” and how we sent her a Christmas present last year, so she does still remember. Now, at nearly four, Lilly was really excited to buy the little girl some more presents, and started off by saying: “I will send her one of my toys because I am going to share with her!”
Off we went around the supermarket picking up some crayons, a colouring book, stickers etc… we also bought some toothpaste and a toothbrush (which Lilly insisted had to be the same as hers at home), some bracelets, bangles and other girly things.
Of course Lilly did quite often say: “Can I have one of those too?” so I kept reminding her how many toys and things she had, and how the little girl didn’t have many at all. She was allowed a set of stickers though!
I couldn’t quite get everything I wanted to in the supermarket – I wanted a little dolly and something cuddly which I had to pick up on a seperate trip, but we got everything in the end… so here is our finished effort…
To anyone who hasn’t done this before, I would really recommend it as a lovely, very visual way to introduce the concept of charity and giving to young children. Not only that but it teaches them that Christmas isn’t all about receiving, it’s about thinking of others and being generous and kind to.
It is obviously something that sticks in children’s minds for quite a while, which is great. And, if you donate the £2.50 postage fee online, Samaritan’s Purse will email you to tell you exactly where your shoebox ended up, so you can remind your little one about the little girl or boy they helped at Christmas time.
I very much hope that taking part in worthwhile charity efforts like this will help to develop my children’s kindness, generosity and consideration for others. And we only had one minor meltdown when I showed Lilly the little cuddly dog I bought to go in the box: “I wanted to keeeeeepppp himmmmm” she sobbed…
But then again, she is only three