Are you making shoe box gifts for charity this year? Have you made them before?
I’ve been making them for many years, possibly around 15 years or so actually. I got involved with a local charity called Convoy Aid Romania, and I’ve actually been out to Romania with them twice doing some aid distribution, including Christmas shoe boxes. It’s something I’ll never forget. Once you’ve met people living in desperate situations such as these, you just can’t stop helping them in whichever way you can.
It doesn’t take much to fill a shoe box with small gifts in order to make someone smile at Christmas time. Most of the shoe box gifts are for children, but Convoy Aid takes gifts for adults too. Many people are in hospitals, care homes or homes for people with special needs. There are also young people living in shelters or on the streets who are given a Christmas shoe box. I am therefore going to give you a few ideas for them too.
My boxes all go to Romania, so I know the winters are cold and therefore warm clothing will be welcomed. If you know your parcel is going somewhere warmer, you can put appropriate items in. For example, substitute woolly hats for a cap or sun hat, and scarves for sunglasses.
Before I give you the lists (or you can watch the video), here are a few more tips. Wrap things in plastic bags which may leak or taint other products, eg toiletries. Also wrap edible items together in plastic bags, to protect them and to prevent sticky sweets from sticking everything else up. There is nothing worse than a box full of gifts completely ruined by a leaking shampoo! Especially when this may be the only gift they get this year. Alternatively, put them in plastic containers which can be re-used. Fill the spaces if possible. This stops other things rattling around and breaking. It is also really sad for a charity to pay to essentially ship fresh air!
For a child:
Toys – traditional toys, nothing with batteries. Doll, teddy, toy cars/lorries, skipping rope, puzzle, yo-yo, ball, dinosaur, toy animals, action figures. Think pocket money/party bag type toys. Perhaps balloons, plasticine, Playdoh, badges, stickers, playing cards.
Stationery – Lots of children can’t go to school unless they provide their own materials. Pens, felt tips, pencils, crayons, colouring pencils, craft scissors, magnifying glass. Pencil sharpener, rubber, ruler, solar calculator, pencil case. Stamps and ink pads, plain paper, notebooks, colouring books, paints and paintbrush, sticker books.
Toiletries- Toothpaste & toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, flannel. Hairbrush or comb, hair accessories for a girl – bows, bobbles, hair slides etc.
Others – Sweets, chocolate, other snacks eg. dried fruits, snack crackers, rice cakes. Socks or tights, underwear, hats, scarves, gloves. Costume jewellery, dressing up crowns/masks etc. A picture for the wall (not in glass). Plastic cup/sports bottle, small drawstring bag (like a shoe bag/swim bag), headband/bandanna.
For A Lady:
Toiletries – Toothpaste & toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, shower gel, flannel. Perfume, deodorant, body spray. Make-up items, lip balm, moisturiser. Sanitary items. Hair brush or comb, compact folding mirror (make sure it can’t smash in parcel). Tissues, wipes, handkerchief. Make-up or toiletries bag.
Accessories – hat, scarf, gloves, silk scarves, jewellery. Tights, socks, purse, shopping bag.
Other – food items – sweets, snacks, chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, biscuits. Candles, wind up torch, wind up radio. Ornamental items for the home, pictures & candlesticks (not glass), doilies and tablecloths. Small kitchen items including plastic storage tubs, tin opener, measuring spoons, baking items. Pens, notebooks.
For A Man:
Toiletries – Toothpaste & toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, shower gel, flannel, deodorant. Razors, shaving gel, aftershave. Tissues, wipes, handkerchief.
Accessories – Hat, scarf, gloves, socks.
Other – food items – sweets, snacks, chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, biscuits. Candles, wind up torch, wind up radio. Pens, notebooks. Small hand tools, garden tools, kitchen tools.
I often start by going through my cupboards for unwanted toiletries from sets, make-up colours I don’t like, scarves or socks I don’t wear. I also use sweets left from Halloween or snacks my kids have turned down. Waste not, want not!
It is also really nice to put in a Christmas card, and perhaps a photo of your family. It really personalises the gift and shows where it has come from.
What do you think of these ideas? Do you have anything to add? Take a look at my video to see how I packed my shoe boxes up if you need more help.
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