Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Handmade Christmas Week 6 {Filling Shoeboxes}

Oh boy, am I ever running late at getting this posted today! Between trying to get extra cleaning done and a couple of trips to the hospital today to see a very dear friend I just didn't manage to get online very early.

This past week we had quite a lot of fun (and I admit some stress when I had 3 or 4 children all wanting my help with their particular project at the same time) working on things to send in our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. Each child got to send a box to a child of their age and gender.

We enjoy doing these boxes as it gives us a chance to help out someone that has far less than we do and it is an opportunity to spread God's love across the world. I love seeing my children getting excited about sharing with some child they have never seen and I love hearing them talk about "My girl" or "My boy" as they plan what to send, write or just think about what they might be like.
My mom also got in on the action this year, first by finding us shoe boxes (we just don't buy new shoes very often around here) and then looking through her gift storage too and finding t-shirts for the two older children and some other things and then one morning last week we went over there so the kids could play with cousins and the boys could help Grandpa with the sawmill and Mom and I did some sewing for the boxes too.
 Here is Mara with her box and its contents. She decided to have a purple theme this year. It was very pretty - we hope the girl that gets it likes purple!

 Here are some of the things we made for it: A braided headband, a fabric flower clip and a jumper to go along with the cream t-shirt. Mara also made a purple notebook.
 Mara sent her one of her very pretty beaded flowers. She found the instructions online it is called a Russian Beaded Netted Flower (I think that link has the correct instructions). She has made quite a few of these- she has more patience than I do for intricate work like that.
 Mara's purple box all packed up.

Here is Jonathan with the stuff for his box:
 The stuff we made for it were: A tote bag, a notebook, a washcloth (out of some textured t-shirt fabric, double layered) and a jump rope.
 Here is Aaron and the stuff for his box:
 Things that we made to go in his box were: A tote bag, a little leather bag (totally made by Aaron) , a tic-tac-toe game and a washcloth. I also appliqued a car picture on the front of the plain white t-shirt that I had on hand.

 Here is the stuff for Megan's box: (She was away from home when I was taking pictures)
 Some of the things we made were: A braided headband, a beaded gecko, necklace and bracelet,
 An elastic waist skirt and a t-shirt that I decorated with lace and a fabric flower,
 A Fairy/Princess wand and a crown
 and some Paper dolls. With the paper dolls we printed two dolls, each with two outfits. Megan colored one set (something that she could do to contribute to the box) and the other one we left for the other girl to color. Here is the link to where you can print these off it you like.

My goal is to have my kids be as involved as possible in the creations of the gifts, here are things that Megan did to work on the box: She colored paper dolls, she painted the stick for the wand, she picked out the ribbons for the wand and sewed the flower in place, she glued jewels on the wand and the crown, she made a gecko and necklace, she wrote a letter, she packaged things up and decorated the box.

 We do try to keep our boxes quite economical - this year we only used things that we already had on hand or made with things that we had on hand. I do pick up things throughout the year (flashlights for example) when they are on sale so that I can have them in my gift cupboard and ready for things such as this. My opinion is that it doesn't require a lot of money to show someone you and Jesus love them.

Do you pack shoe boxes or do anything similar to this? Do you have any handmade ideas to share? I would love to hear them!

I would love to hear about any Christmas/gift projects that you have going on at your house. Please leave your ideas and links in the comments!


Bowmanh23 said...

I really like the idea of incuding homemade gifts in the boxes. In my preschool class, each student filled a box. What I love is that we can track the boxes and my students can see where their box has been. We also put our school's address in the box so that the children could correspond with us if they so wished. I think the shoeboxes are such a great way to get even the youngest child involved in serving others.

Anonymous said...

Hi Abbi,
I just wanted to thank you for your website. I have been following your blog for over a year and feel bless to have found you. I appreciate all of your articles. It has been a very stressful time financially for my family this past year. You have helped me to recognize and appreciate the "small" things in my life. I admire your lifestyle, and hope to be able to implement more of your ideas. Thank you again and happy thanksgiving to you and your family.

HappyMommy said...

Thank you for this post. My little family and I are going to have to look into Operation Christmas Child. Usually we pick a child's name off of a giving tree and give a gift. But I like the idea of making gifts as well as being able to include several things in a shoe box. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Abbi said...

Thankyou all for your comments. I so love hearing from you and learning from and more about those that read my blog.

Nola said...

Those are such great ideas. I am going to ask my husband about maybe doing this kind of thing next year. I only ever did a shoebox years ago now when I was single and no kids yet!

I agree with the other comment- I have learned through your example more how to enjoy and appreciate the small things in life. I find that when I celebrate and find joy in the small things that life is much more joyful than I thought. You inspire me, thank you.

Abbi said...

Thanks so much for your kind comment. It is a blessing to me to know that others have been encouraged to appreciate the simple things more. I so often feel overwhelmed with how much God has blessed us. I do think life is so much more fun when you enjoy and thank God for all our blessings.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin