I am not one to rush along the holidays.
I still have pumpkins all over the house.
I refuse to buy anything peppermint flavored.
I only have a list of possible Christmas gift ideas and no aspiration to have my shopping completed by Thanksgiving.
I groan when I hear Christmas music already playing, not because I am a Scrooge, but because I believe we should get through one holiday before we jump to the next.
Around our house, however, there is one reliable way to tell that Christmas is on its way, one reason that early Christmas shopping is permitted, encouraged, and discussed: Operation Christmas Child.
Operation Christmas Child is a program that collects and distributes shoeboxes to children around the world during the Christmas season. These boxes, filled with goodies, provide a tangible way to show God's love to children in some of the remotest, poorest places in the world. As this video shows, the impact of these boxes goes way beyond the small gifts enclosed inside.
While some years we have just sent our items to a larger group instead of packing the boxes ourselves, this year we decided to involve Emily and Andrew in the process.
We took them with us to the store and explained we were going to be picking out toys for boys and girls who didn't have a lot of toys.
Picking out toys is definitely something two year olds were designed to do.
The challenge was going to be how to get everything they wanted to put in the cart into a shoe box.
While they obviously couldn't understand the depth of what we were doing, it was heartwarming to hear Emily say, "Mommy, I think the little girl would like some crayons." or "Mommy, let's get her a book." It seemed she understood these items weren't for her (although she managed to score a box of crayons for herself).
After buying the items, we waited a week or so to pack them. When we took out the bags and boxes, Emily said, "The boxes for the girls and boys who don't have a lot of toys, Mommy?"
Sometimes her memory is amazing!
At that point, the real fun began. With cousin Kaelyn lending us a hand, it was a packing and re-packing party.
Drew became quite attached to the teddy bear but sweetly put it in the box and said, "for the little boy?"
Can you guess who picked out the items for this box?
Emily gives everything an extra pat for good measure.
I think you can see why we've made an exception around here when it comes to this kind of early Christmas shopping.
If you'd like to get involved, it's not too late.
Click here to learn what to put in your box, how to pack, and where to drop off.
Short on time? Click here to build your box online NOW from the comfort of your own home.