Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."  ~ James M. Barrie

Now that was fun! And as I drove out of the parking lot, I got the best reward ever… the most beautiful peach-colored sunset was drifting across the entire evening sky.

I woke up today feeling sort of blue, a little down, not my usual self. You see, Thanksgiving is next week, and our family members live more than halfway across the country. I miss the big Thanksgiving turkey that my sister-in-law is expert at roasting, and I miss the fun and laughter of all the families sitting in that wonderful farmhouse out in the country. I miss making the pies or appetizers, whichever was my offering that year. I guess I miss the old days

After all, that's what Thanksgiving is here in the good old U.S.A., right? Having a feast with family, and then sitting around, groggily, watching a football game on TV, and dozing off, right?

Well, yes it is, but maybe it shouldn't be only that! 

This may seem very trite to you, but I started thinking about the word, Thanksgiving… Moping about what I don't have isn't giving thanks at all! And I ought to have known that. I'm old enough to have learned that a long time ago, but I guess I didn't. If I just join those two words the other way around, I have it! Giving Thanks… yup, that's the right way.

And then I remembered what I used to do…  

Have you heard of Operation Christmas Child? It's also called Operation Christmas Shoebox. Does that ring any bells with you? I'd forgotten all about it, and I'm sorry that I did. All you need is a shoebox and the suggestion list. Then you're off on a lovely Christmas shopping spree for a child who lives somewhere in this world and has nothing. You'll never ever meet each other, but you will bring so much happiness and joy to that little one. You can pick whether you'd like to fill a box for a little girl or a little boy, and you can also pick the child's age range, too.

The suggestion list is divided up into 4 categories:  Toys, School Supplies, Non-Liquid Hygiene Items, and Accessories. Each of these categories has suggestions to help you choose the brand new items for this nameless, needy child who you are befriending anonymously. 

There are toys like dolls, stuffed animals, yoyos, and balls that you can include. There are school supplies like paper, crayons, markers, notebooks, coloring books and picture books, too, that you can choose. Hygiene items like tootbrushes, combs, and washcloths will fit just perfectly into that shoebox. I don't think of socks and tee shirts as "Accessories," but they are on the list of suggestions, so in they went!

There is a fifth category called "A Personal Note," and it's optional, of course. But you can enclose a note to the child  and even a photo of yourself and maybe your family, too. The child can see your face, and I bet it would be like looking at the face of an angel! 

At the end of the list of suggestions there is an important paragraph called "DO NOT INCLUDE," and it's written in bright red so you can't miss it. "DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans." 

Well, off I went to my nearby store-that-has-everything, and I had so much fun! I got things in every category, things that I would have liked when I was young. It was the most pleasant hour of shopping ever, shopping for someone I'll never, ever know. As I deliberated over colors and styles and sizes that would fit into that shoebox, I kept seeing the wide eyes and the huge smile on my "mystery child's" face.

I'm home now, and all has been stuffed into that shoebox, except a book called "Silly Monkeys" with 5 monkey-faced finger puppets included... oh, and an orange baseball. Not a problem, though.  Guess that just means that I have the beginnings of another shoebox. And I guess that means that I get to go shopping again tomorrow… Think I'll be filling a box for a boy. My husband said he'd go with me. He'll have a much better eye for what a boy would like, of course. An ORANGE baseball, Terry? 

If any of this interests you, just Google "Christmas Shoeboxes," and all the directions are there. They even explain the "drop off" procedure.  

C'mon… this must be just how Santa Claus feels when he delivers his presents, right? After all, Operation Christmas Shoebox delivers these shoeboxes to 10,000,000 kids in this world! Yes, that's TEN MILLION kids who've maybe never received a present of any kind in their entire lives. 

Giving thanks always spills out all over, and sometimes it even brings a sunset that takes your breath away!      


  1. Tomorrow, Richard is going to come with me and get things that a boy would like. You get to pick the age range that you'd like to send you surprises to, as well as whether it's a boy or a girl. It's really fun to fill a shoebox with these gifts for a little one.

  2. It was so much fun to do this that I got too many things, so I almost have the fillings of another shoebox. Off to the store to get the rest… bye!

  3. Oops, forgot to say that the Christmas Shoebox program is accepting shoeboxes until December 24. It sure is a fun thing to do, and all the time we were shopping, I kept imaging a child's face as he or she opened the shoebox full of things that I had carefully chosen, just for that very little one!