Do you pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child? It is definitely one of the highlights of the Christmas season for me every year. I love picking out the gifts and thinking about the kiddos who will receive them. Last year, for the first time, I used the "track my boxes" option, and learned that our boxes ended up in Mexico and Indonesia. I usually get all teary-eyed at least once while cramming little toys and goodies into each available square centimeter of the box, thinking about how we have so much and others so little, when we have done nothing to deserve it. The OCC project and Samaritan's Purse in general are very close to my heart.
At some point over the past year, I started following OCC on Facebook, which I highly recommend doing. All throughout the year, they post wonderful photos of kids opening their boxes, anecdotes about children who were providentially matched with the exact thing they needed, brief testimonials from shoebox packers talking about how much it means to them to send out their boxes each year, stories of people who get notes of thanks back from the children who received the boxes... you get the idea. It's just really wonderful.
One day, OCC posted a story about ladies who sew dresses for their boxes, and gave some other ideas for handmade items to include. My jaw nearly hit the floor. I had never, ever even considered that handmade items would be accepted or welcomed. Of course, I could not stop thinking about making little dresses to go in my boxes this year. I got so excited about the idea, I went ahead and made three of them. And then went ahead and bought all the rest of the items, and packed three boxes. Three months early! Well, now that these are done, I'm sure I'll decide to pack some others closer to the November deadline.
I've used lots of different peasant dress patterns, but happened to use this one for this colorful number. Isn't that fabric crazy fun? I've had it forever. The orange polka dot is from a different line, but I thought it went really well. (It's possible I also had to make H a matching top out of the leftovers.)
You may recognize this fabric from my ill-fated Sorbetto sewing attempt. (I have sewn tops for myself several times recently, only to end up hating them and cutting them up for scraps. I wonder if I will ever get it right?!) I'm not quite sure why I originally bought so much of this. It looks much better as a pretty pillowcase dress anyway.
For both of these, I used the wonderful Little Dresses for Africa tutorial. I may have liked this one best of all, even though the pictures don't really do it justice. I just thought the salmon and yellow were so pretty.
I bought some toddler panties and flip-flops for the boxes, too. I just like the idea of a little girl getting a whole new set of clothes in her box! I also intend to make some coordinating hair clippies next time I have the hot glue gun heated up.
And, of course, had lots of fun at the Dollar Tree finding toys and hygiene items and candies and doodads to fill it the rest of the way. While putting this post together, I just ran across the fact that 10-14-year-old boys are the most needed category for shoeboxes, so maybe I'll try to put some of those together before November. I wonder if I could do anything handmade for those... that's trickier! What is your favorite thing to pack in your shoeboxes?
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