Every year, we fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child through an organization called Samaritan's Purse. The gist of it is that you pick the age range - 3-5, 6-8, 9-13, I think is how they break it up - and gender of the child you're buying for, and then fill a shoe box with all sorts of little things. The Kids always pick for a child that falls into their same age range and we tend to pack our stuff in a shoe box-sized plastic box with a lid. (I guess I've always figured that they can re-use the box for something. Plus, I never think to keep my shoe boxes!) We always try to put some personal hygiene items in the box, like a bar of soap and washcloth, toothpaste and toothbrush, combs, hair ties for the girl. We also put in something like a note pad and pencils, crayons, stickers, little toys, things like that. It's a lot of fun to do, and we're able to get most of the things at the dollar store. (I'd like to shop elsewhere for it, someplace like Walgreen's or Target, because sometimes it feels chintzy, but it's a budget issue at this time. I keep telling myself that, once we're out of debt, we'll have the freedom to give more. As Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no one else so later you can give like no one else!")
Reilly and Declan always seem to have such fun picking out what they pack in their box. You pay a small fee to cover shipping cost, and last year, we paid it online so we could find out where the boxes went - Mexico. I'm a little bummed this year, because we didn't actually get to DO this tradition, and it's the first time since Reilly was about four or five that we've missed it. Our niece got married the weekend they were due and, of course, I hadn't done it EARLY (Heaven forbid!), but I'm sure we'll get back in the swing next year.