General ramblings

My Make Do and Mend Christmas Shoebox

November 12, 2012

For the last couple of years, we have made up shoeboxes for the Samritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child appeal.

Basically, you fill a shoebox with bits and pieces from the lists they give out, and wrap it all up in Christmas paper, and then take it to one of the drop off points, and it is distributed around the world, to children in poorer countries, who wouldn’t normally be getting gifts at Christmas.

I love doing it, and now that BigSmall is getting older, I try to include him, to introduce him to the concept that we are very lucky to live where we do, and have all the things that we do, and that there are children who don’t have all the trappings of a priveliged middle class western lifestyle, and that we should be thinking of them and helping them. That might sound bit worthy, and pious, but I hope you get what I mean.

Since having the Smalls, I try to do 2 shoeboxes, for little boys of similar ages to them. So this year, we needed 2 boxes full of stuff for boys aged 2-4.

This time around, it has been a bit more problematic because of My Make Do and Mend Year, but this is what we have put in:

The eagle-eyed among you will of course have noticed that the knitted hat is not in the picture. Mother in law is bringing it around tonight!

  • One of the main categories is toiletries, so this is no problem, as it is within the ‘rules’ to buy toiletires. So each shoebox has a toothbrush, some toothpaste, and some soap .
  • You are also allowed to put in a bag of sweets-easy peasy
  • My mother in law has very kindly knitted 2 hats, one for each shoebox
  • I found 2 cuddly toys in good condition in local charity shops, and they have been washed and put in
  • I also found 2 crocodile bath flannels/toys in a charity shop in new condition, so ‘snapped’ them up (crocodile, snap, get it..?!)
  • Last year, I bought some ‘plastic tat’ from the pound shop-a little whiz along car, and a couple of bath flutes, but I obvioulsy can’t do this this year, so I made some beanbags to go in. I thought that these would hopefully be pretty cool toys, and they can be used for all sorts of different games, so hopefully they will be a good substitute for ‘tat’. I did a tutorial here on making them a while ago. Someone on Facebook pointed out to me that using rice to fill them might cause customs issues, so I erred on the safe side and filled them with beanbag beans instead (I picked up several binbags full for free off Freecycle a while ago!)
  • I downloaded some colouring pictures from the internet, and made them into a little book to go into each box
  • The hardest thing was colouring pencils/crayons. I was hoping to pick some up secondhand, but had no luck. But then we went to The Wiltshire Scrapstore (see post here) and they had been donated some of those bags that you sometimes get in restaurants to keep the Smalls amused, with crayons and stickers and a colouring sheet. Result! So I made off with 2 of these.
  • I made some jigsaws from picture printed off the internet, glued onto cereal boxes, and then cut up. And I made a couple of little fabric bags to put them in (I did a post on making a similar jigsaw on my sister blog, Shouty Cat Makes)
  • And then I made a couple of drawstring bags (I followed this tutorial for Easy 15 minute drawstring bags from The Mother Huddle) for the boys to put all their goodies in to keep them safe

What do you think?

I hope they’re going to bring a smile to a little boy’s face somewhere around the world this Christmas.

(You can track where your shoebox has gone online-I will let you know where ours ended up!)

Has anyone else done a shoebox? And if so, did you put anything homemade in it?

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6 Comments

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo November 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Fabulous, well done you. :o)

    • Reply Jen November 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks Jo. Hope they make a little boy’s Christmas somewhere!

  • Reply vivjm November 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Great ideas! Everyone loves beanbags – much more fun than plastic cars!

    • Reply Jen November 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Thankyou! Am thinking that I might use the contents as a model for the Small’s Christmas stockings!

  • Reply Hayley Morgan November 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Hi

    Would you be interested in writing a guest blog for Little Pickles Markets about your make do and Mend year?

    As we organise preloved children’s markets it would be good to remind people about the benefits of buying second hand.

    We could give you free entry at your nearest market as a (very) small thank you!! You’d be welcome to include links to your blog too.

    Let me know what you think

    Hayley Morgan

    hayley@littlepicklesmarkets.co.uk http://www.littlepicklesmarkets.co.uk 07725 979298

    • Reply Jen November 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Would love to! Will e-mail you. Thanks for thinking of me!
      Jen x

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