Operation Christmas Child Gifts The Prudent Homemaker

I made a few items again this year for our Operation Christmas Child boxes. As they receive the fewest boxes for boys ages 10-14, I wanted to give to this age group. In the photo above, you can see all of the items we chose to include in each of this year’s boxes.

If you’ve never read the stories from recipients of these boxes, I highly recommend them. Hearing how excited they are to receive a toothbrush (and no longer having to share with 25 other children at an orphanage) or what a difference school supplies made (allowing a child to attend school who otherwise could not afford to go) helps ou to see what a huge impact each item can make. Samaritan’s Purse has shared stories from people who received boxes as children that are helpful in knowing what to pack. You can read some here. I love knowing how significant something such as a bar of soap or a pencil sharpener can be to someone.


Soft fabric for handkerchiefs

farbic and lining for pencil bag and hygiene bag

2 zippers for bags


Clips for bracelets


Sewing Machine


Sewing pins


Operation Christmas Child 2016 2 The Prudent Homemaker


Operation Christmas Child 2016 5 The Prudent Homemaker


The tutorial for making bags says 15 minutes, but it took me a bit longer, plus I include the time to lay out the fabric, so they took me about 1 hour of sewing per box. We filled 2 boxes this year. This is the tutorial I used for making the bags. 

Operation Christmas Child Paracord Bracelet The Prudent Homemaker

My son made the paracord bracelets. It took him about 20 minutes per bracelet.


I had all of the sewing items from my grandmother’s stash, so these cost me nothing. The cost to ship each box is $7, payable on Samaritan’s Purse website.

The paracord and clips were bought in bulk on Ebay, and were less than $1 each. Last year we bought paracord bracelets at the Dollar Tree.

The cost to ship each box is $7, payable on Samaritan’s Purse website.

Operation Christmas Child 2016 4 The Prudent Homemaker

Other items are as follows:



Watch ($7.88)

Lined note pads ($0.88 for a 3 pack; I included 2 in each box)

Blank note pads ($0.88 for a 3 pack; I included 2 in each box)

Pens ($0.88 for an 8 pack; I included 2 blue and 2 black in each box)

Pencils ($0.50 for a 20-count box at back to school sales; I included 10 in each box)

Watercolors ($1.97 for Crayola)

Nail clippers (2 pairs), file, tweezers, orange sticks ($0.97)

Dental floss ($1.47 for 120 yards)

White polymer eraser ($1.47 for three; I included 1 in each box)

Soap box ($0.97)

Index cards ($0.25 for 100; I included 50 in each box)



Colored pencils ($1 on back to school sale)

Checkers game ($1.50 on clearance. Dollar Tree does have these in a cardboard box for $1 each if you are looking to add one to a box)

Protractor and compass ($1.97 on clearance)


Dollar Tree:

Toothbrushes with covers ($1 for 4; I put 2 in each box)

Multi-pack of combs ($1; I put 2 in each box)

Pencil sharpeners ($1 for 12; I put 2 in each box)

Hair elastics ($1 for 100; I included 2 as rubber bands ; one on the colored pencils and 1 to hold the washcloth around the watch to keep it padded while traveling).


Other items:

Soap (given to me; I put 2 bars of Ivory in each box. Ivory is recommended because it floats, which is helpful when bathing in a stream.)

Matchbox cars (My dad collects these and these were duplicates that he did not need)

Paracord and clips (bought in bulk on Ebay)

Washcloths (bought in a brand-new package at a garage sale; I got 12 for $2)

Chapstick (I bought a  13-pack for $9.98 at Sam’s Club and included 1 per box)

Ribbon (from my grandmother’s stash, used to hold pencils, pens, and index cards together)

Ziploc bags (around $0.04 each from Sam’s Club)


Making it fit:

You can fit more in our box if you remove packaging. Also, many of these boxes go to places where there is no trash service at all.

Operation Christmas Child 2016 3 The Prudent Homemaker


 Tomorrow is the last day for dropping off Operation Christmas Child boxes in the U.S. Go here to find a drop-off location near you!

 Need more ideas? Here is what we packed in our boxes for boys ages 10-14 last year.

Here is my Pinterest board for boxes for ages 10-14.


Note: Candy and toothpaste may be included this year in U.S. boxes, but it is the last year; it will not be allowed in 2017. Only certain candies are allowed and must be double bagged as even hard candies can melt. Soap should be bagged. If you are sending a box from Canada, Australia, or the U.K., those items are already prohibited.

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  1. What great shoeboxes! Two boys are going to be very pleased. I saw the ones you did last year, and I love the bags you sewed for the boxes this year and last. I pack shoeboxes each year for OCC. I wish I could sew or craft some of the items. My favorite age group/gender is the boys 10-14. I like doing the same age for the girls, too.

  2. This is really touching my heart. Thank you for inspiration, Brandy.
    Due to time restraint I am unable to put something together myself, but I was able to put together a box online through the link you shared. I also chose a gift for 10-14 year old boy.
    I love this community we have created. Living frugally and humbly but also sharing with others.

  3. Love this!! I was able to pull together 10 boxes this year very frugally! Our business is close to Office Depot so when they had .01 school supplies this summer we went multiple times. I was also able to get t shirts from a friend that sold them to me for $2 each. They were shirts left over from ball tournaments and events. I crafted hairbows and braclet kits from supplies I had on hand. Couponed toiletries all year and found some adorable stuffed bears at dollar tree to fill out the box. Such a worthwhile cause!!

  4. What a wonderful gift box! I think I’m going to do 2 grown up boxes for my brother and his girlfriend. They’re both disabled and there is so much useful stuff in there! Plus a few fun things and definitely some yummies!

    When my mom was alive, I gave her 24 small gifts on December1st. They were numbered so she had one every day until Christmas. She said it was so much fun. I gave her similar things that you packed in the box, plus things like a sheet of postage stamps, a skein of yarn, an eyeglass fix-it kit, and things I knew she loved and used. (And yes, she still got her regular presents for Christmas!)

    Several of my friends have used this idea for their parents or their kids away at college. It’s a load of fun buying it all, too!

  5. I well remember your post on the boxes last year and often thought this year of the children who received them. The recipients will adore the paracord bracelets especially I think.

  6. My kids and I worked on packing/loading shoe boxes at our distribution site. Every box is a blessing, but the boys who will receive your boxes will be very thankful indeed! What carefully crafted and considered boxes!!

  7. This is beautiful. I’m hoping to participate in the USPS’s charity program this year to help out these kids! Thanks for giving to others. 🙂 I need to focus more on helping out, even as we’re trying to get out of debt. It’s important to remember that people out there really need our help.

  8. Oh I wish I thought of a watch. My girls are 14 this year, we have always done boxes their age so they can choose what to send and share a favorite toy of their own. This year they choose two boy boxes 10 to 14 years because they heard not many boxes are made for that age. Was fun watching the girls but together boy boxes with a beanie baby puppy in each one.

  9. How long does it take you to collect all these items? We do these each year, but yours seem so much more intentional. I want to do some like this next year.

  10. I bought some things on back to school sale, and the rest I bought just recently. Technically I could have bought all of the items in one day. Walmart does have supplies in the crafts department to make paracord bracelets.

    I have a couple of things I am thinking about including in next year’s boxes that I might order ahead of time from Amazon–if I remember in time!

  11. I think the watch is a good idea too. I am going to keep an eye out for some over the upcoming year. One of our adult Sunday school classes buys soccer balls with a pump in bulk to add to the boxes. One of the ladies groups makes bandanas out of cotton fabric. One of these is included in every box…they could be used as a scarf or hair tie or handkerchief. Or even a bib for a younger child or a doll’s blanket.

  12. We have a collection point for boxes for Operation Christmas Child at our church. Toothpaste and sweets are allowed here in the UK. The only things that are not allowed are:
    (from the website) Used or damaged items, war related items such as toy guns, play soldiers or knives; chocolate or other food items; liquids or lotions of any type including bubbles; medicines; hand-made or knitted stuffed toys; anything of a political, racial or religious nature; sharp objects; glass containers, mirrors or fragile items; playing cards of the 4-suit variety; clothing other than as listed above (hat, scarf, gloves or mitts).

    The whole pile of boxes, several hundred of them, was collected from the church today. It made me feel really glad to see that whole big stack of boxes all together knowing that they were from our whole community.

  13. Great ideas for those boxes! I didn’t make the cut off this year when I got this post……I actually was in the middle of the woods in the Upper Peninsula with minimal service…..

    I know older boys always get left out of bit and I’m guilty of that too….couldn’t figure out what to put in for that age group. This is so helpful.

    One quick question….I see the mention of soccer balls….I found the inexpensive pumps, but the link for the balls of pinterest didn’t work. Are these balls flat when you purchase them, or do I have to flatten them?? (dumb question, but I was never super athletic growing up 😉 )

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