Christmas is fast approaching, and whilst I love getting caught up in the festive whirlwind of frivolity, fun and overindulging, I think it’s also an important time to think about those less fortunate than myself. So whilst investigating ways in which I can give back this year, I was very excited to find out about #OperationBlogger, part of the Samaritan’s Purse UK’s campaign Operation Christmas Child.
#OperationBlogger is a way for bloggers to take part in the Operation Christmas Child campaign, whereby you pack a shoe box with a variety of presents for an underprivileged child. You don’t have to be a blogger to take part of course, but Samaritan’s Purse UK (the charity behind OCC) are encouraging bloggers who are taking part to tweet and blog about the scheme to raise awareness.
It’s a really simple way to give something to charity and also lots of fun to take part in too! Who doesn’t love buying Secret Santa presents?! Hurry though as I’m a bit tardy to the party – you’ve only got until November 18th to get everything all bought, packaged up and dropped off! So here’s what you need to do:
1) Get a medium sized shoe box and wrap the lid and the box up separately in nice Christmassy paper. Shoebox is partnering with Samaritan’s Purse UK and some stores will be able to give you a shoe box to use.
2) Choose who your box is for! Pick either a boy or girl and one of the following age categories: 2 – 4, 5 – 9, 10 – 14. Then go on the OCC website and print out the relevant label and stick it to the lid of your box.
3) Time for the fun bit – choosing presents to fill your shoe box! OCC ask that you include something from each of 4 categories: toy, education, hygiene and other. There are also some things which they ask you not to include. Here are their guidelines:
Toys: Bear, soft toy, tennis ball, finger puppet, jigsaw, yo-yo, building blocks, small musical instrument, trucks, cars, dolls, clip on earrings, etc…
Education Items: Calculator, felt pens, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, colouring book, notepad, picture or puzzle book, chalk, pencil case, stickers, etc.
Hygiene Items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, comb, hair clips, bar of soap, flannel, etc.
Other Items: Sweets (sell-by date to be at least March of the following year), gloves, scarf, sunglasses, cap, hat, bangles, necklaces etc.
All gifts should be new, please include items from each category.
No Food – particularly chocolate (non-chocolate sweets are allowed)
No medicine – or vitamins of any kind
No war related items – toy guns, play soldiers or knives of any kind
No clothing – other than listed above
No fragile items – e.g. glass containers, mirrors
No liquids – including blow bubbles, shampoo, bubble bath, toiletry sets or aerosols
No dangerous items – sharp objects, scissors or razors
No books with many words
Nothing of a political nature
No hand-made stuffed toys without a CE mark. For knitted items that we can accept, please visit our knitting patterns page.
4) Make a donation online – £3 lets you track exactly where your parcel goes!
5) Take your shoe box to one of the many drop off locations (which can be found on the website) so it can be sorted and sent out!
So there you go! A little overview about the campaign – you can obviously find out much much more on the Operation Christmas Child website such as a list of the countries your box may be sent to, more about the work of Samaritan’s Purse and other ways which you can help. I think it’s a really great way to help those less fortunate at Christmas, and also have some fun and enter the festive spirit too!
I live in Brixton in London. I eat out far too much, am always planning my next trip and have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter.