Category: gifts

Packing a Shoe Box for Operation Christmas Child

Y’all, this is so fun! Operation Christmas Child shares the joy and promise of Christmas with children around the world, by distributing shoe boxes filled to the brim with gifts. For many of these children living in poverty, this is the first gift they receive. Some of these deliveries are made on camel back, loaded onto elephants, others strapped to motorcycles; but all are delivered with love.

In 2018, more than 10.6 million shoe boxes were collected for distribution to 112 countries and territories. That’s a whole lot of joy!

Boxes carried by oxen in Mongolia. (Oxen with boxen?! Ha ha!) Photo Credit: Samaritan’s Purse

With just twelve weeks to go until national collection week, here are some fun ideas for shoe box packing:

One Wow Item: Dolls, stuffed animals and deflated soccer balls (with a pump) are all great. Mickey and Minnie are our “wow” items this year; boys get Mickey, and girls get Minnie. We folded them over, and placed rubber bands around them to make them as small as possible. The indignity! I tried using hair ties, but the fabric is too slick and they slid right off. Oh, well. The kids can have a humdinger of a rubber band fight!

Other Fun Stuff: Marbles, jacks, jump ropes, Matchbox cars, beach balls, sticky catch games, water bottles, playing cards, stickers, coloring books, journals and Lego kits are all fun additions to shoe box gifts. See Shanika and Sherika’s story below to learn why they were thrilled to get a set of jacks in their shoe boxes.

School supplies: In many areas around the world, school supplies are the ticket to education. Can you imagine not attending school simply because you don’t have paper or a pencil? One lady on a distribution trip reported that teachers break pencils into several pieces, so that more students can have one.

Something to Wear: Walmart and Kohls had great end-of-summer sales on kid’s clothing. The boys get tees and shorts, and I found tees, capri pants and dresses for the girls. Shoes and flip-flops are useful and appreciated.

I sure hope that the boy who receives this outfit is a little spitfire. He’ll need a lot of personality to rock that monster tee!

We’ll KonMari the heck out of the clothing, and keep them folded during processing and shipment using rubber bands.

Personal Care Items: We’re packing for elementary age children this year, so a comb, washcloth, toothbrush with cover and a bar of soap will do the job. Just picture twelve children sharing a washcloth, or 25 children sharing a toothbrush. Such simple items can mean the world to a child in need.

Tuck a Christmas card, your picture and a note of encouragement into your shoe box. Let the child know that you love them, and are praying for them. Include your address if you like; sometimes the recipient or their parents will write to you!

Here are some helpful tips I’ve learned from the Shoebox Shoppers Facebook group:

  • You do not have to use OCC boxes, although they’re nice! Any shoe box will do. Standard sizes are best because they can pack more into a carton when they are a uniform size. However, odd/larger size boxes will not be rejected.
  • Remove all packaging material from the shoe box items. Most of the receiving countries do not have the resources to handle trash. The recipient will not think that your gift is used if it’s not in the manufacturer’s packaging.
  • Fill the box to the brim. Don’t ship air!
  • Boxes are inspected at 8 different processing centers around the U.S. The volunteers view each box as your unique gift to a child, and do not remove items unless they’re on the prohibited list. (Liquid, glass, seeds, war-related, etc.) They do not re-distribute gifts from one box to another. They will add to a box if needed, and keep small filler items on hand in case a box has extra room.
  • Track your box online, but know that some boxes go to sensitive countries and you might not learn the final destination of your gift. Be sure to include $9 per box to cover the costs of shipping and transportation.

No time to pack a shoebox? You can quickly build one online here:
https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/buildonline/

Here are some stories from shoe box recipients.
Izabella’s Story:
https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/shoebox-stories-izabella-and-a-snow-globe/
Shanika and Sherika’s Story:
https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/shoeboxstories-shanika-sherika-and-the-notebooks/
TRIGGER WARNING (Abuse/Sexual Assault) Boun’s story is difficult to hear, but so important:
https://video.samaritanspurse.org/boun-thornes-story-gifts-from-god/?fbclid=IwAR1-6fwko-4FOINBMsc4C94PRSIXCwngixknbyDvYAk9n6YvJxN_O_hl9PU

What a beautiful and simple way to bring the good news of Jesus to children around the world!

Helicopter delivery in Honduras. Photo credit: Samaritan’s Purse

This post is not sponsored. I only endorse charities that I personally support, and I hope you will consider supporting them too!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Nautical Gift Wrap

Here’s a quick and inexpensive way to add some interest to gift packages. Tie varied knots using lightweight rope instead of ribbon. In addition to being unusual, these embellishments are practical because they will not flatten during transport.

You will need:
Nautical theme gift wrap (Maritime designs, maps, paper in beachy, bright colors would work as well)
Gift Wrapping Tape
Scissors
Nylon clothesline or other rope – $2
Spring Link – optional – I call them caribiners – $2
Lighter – optional
Large letter stickers and tags – optional

Unless you’re a knot-tying expert, (I’m knot! Get it? Heh.) watch the videos that I’ve linked below. You can play the video and pause when you needed, or click the right or left arrows to see one step at a time.

Bowline Knot – After I formed the first loop, I hooked the caribiner through the tail end of the rope.
https://www.animatedknots.com/bowline-knot

I struggled with this knot until I realized that the loop looked like a lowercase “g”. Do you see it?

After I tied the bowline knot on one end of the caribiner, I wrapped the rope snugly around the package a few times. Then I tied another bowline knot at the other end of the caribiner. Push the knot close to the caribiner before tightening, so that the rope stays fairly tight around the package.

Careful adults only step:
I sealed the cut ends of the rope by melting them with a lighter. If you do this, please don’t set yourself (or anything else) on fire, and take care not to breathe fumes from melting plastic. Don’t attempt to seal the ends of cotton rope. We call those ‘candle wicks’.

Single Rope Braid – I didn’t know that you could form a braid like this with a single piece of rope. This braid is simple, so I added a paper tag with the recipient’s initial.
https://www.animatedknots.com/single-rope-braid-knot

Carrick Bend Knot – Because I wanted the knot to lay flat, I doubled up the rope and did not tighten the knot down in the final step.
https://www.animatedknots.com/carrick-bend-knot

Use a square knot to tie the loose ends together on the underside of the package.
https://www.animatedknots.com/square-knot

And there you have it! Simple nautical (knot-ical?) gift packages. I hope you will try this out. If you do, I’d love to hear from you in the comments or via email: arthurized dot home at gmail dot com

If you enjoy the content on Arthurized Home, select “follow” to receive a notification when new posts are published. To comment, select “leave a comment”. To socialize by email, send to arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Let’s Make Fire Starters

Years ago, we took two of our nephews and a niece on a white-water rafting trip in West Virginia. We tent camped that weekend and planned to roast our dinner (and s’mores) over a campfire. My niece and I got to work starting the fire. We had nice, dry firewood, sturdy matches and kindling gathered from the surrounding area.

There were thunderstorms that day and the humidity was nearly 100%. We couldn’t get our kindling to ignite, so we started looking for paper to burn. Having none, we did what all intrepid explorers do and burned our atlas! (This was in the days before GPS, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.) Fortunately, that worked. We had a nice cookout that night and were able to find our way home at the end of the trip.

Shortly after that, my sister gave us these awesome egg carton fire starters and we’ve been using them ever since. The combination of wax and paper helps them to burn for several minutes; long enough to ignite a nice fire.

Disclaimer: I should warn you up front that this project is for careful adults only. Always use caution when working with fire, flammable materials and heat sources. I don’t want you to singe those beautiful eyebrows off. Or worse.

That said, and because I love an element of danger, let’s dive right in!

Here’s what you’ll need to make the fire starters:

  • Paper egg cartons with lids removed – do not use foam!
  • Wax from discarded candles
  • Flammable Filler, small pine cones, tree bark, sawdust, etc. The lid of the paper egg carton torn into small pieces will work.
  • Scented/Decorative Filler, dried citrus peel, cinnamon stick pieces, etc. – this is entirely optional
  • Double boiler for melting wax – Mine came from the flea market for $1. You can often find vintage, aluminum double boilers inexpensively at yard sales and thrift stores. I do not use this one for food.
  • Metal ladle – optional, but useful if you’re like me; not very accurate when pouring liquids.
  • Sturdy scissors – I used herb scissors.
  • Cardboard, plastic and newspaper or paper grocery bags for protecting your work surface.

This is a great way to recycle/upcycle both the egg cartons and discarded candles.

Cover your work surface with cardboard or plastic with layers of paper on top. The melted wax makes this a messy project! Children could help with gathering the supplies and arranging them in the egg cartons, but the wax melting and pouring is an adults only step in the process. You may just want to send them to Grandma’s (or at least out of the room) while you’re working with hot wax.

Remove the lids from the egg cartons, Set the lids aside for another use or tear them into small pieces to use as filler. Using scissors, cut in between the cups without cutting them completely apart, like the photos below. This will make it easier to break them into individual fire starters.

Fill the cups of the egg carton with your choice of flammables. If you are using scented/decorative filler, arrange that on top of any less attractive filler. I layered mine with torn egg carton lids, dried orange peel, hemlock cones and birch bark.

Gluten for you, gluten-free for me! Kidding. Don’t eat these.

Over low heat, melt the wax in a double boiler. Watch the wax as it melts. Do not leave it unattended and certainly don’t let it come to a boil. Also, don’t bother cleaning your stove until after this messy project!

Once the wax has just melted, remove it from the heat and carefully pour or ladle it into the prepared egg cups. Fill just the whole cup section. You can carefully press the filler materials down into the wax if needed.

I wish that you could smell these fire starters. I made two batches, one is from a vanilla bean scented soy candle and the other is cinnamon scented. Both batches smell amazing!

Let the wax harden completely, and then pull the cups apart. You’ll appreciate that you cut the cups before filling them. I forgot one time, and spent the next few evenings hacking at them with a utility knife. #blisters

To burn, just light a corner of the fire starter.

These fire starters make great gifts (hint: Christmas) for the outdoorsy people in your life. Or anyone who enjoys a fire pit, chiminea or wood burning fireplace. Fill a pretty basket or bowl with fire starters and a nice box of matches or a butane lighter. If your friends love a fire in the fire pit, give a pretty bag of these fire starters along with a cozy throw for chilly evenings.

Fill a cellophane bag with fire starters and place into a large gift bag with s’mores fixins’: a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers and some Hershey’s chocolate bars. Go crazy, and add some Reese’s peanut butter cups to the kit. (Don’t grill foods directly over the fire starters, wait until you’ve got a roaring campfire.)

Throw a few of these into your pack when you go hiking or on a camping trip. As Pa Kettle says, “you just don’t never know” when you’ll need to start a fire.


I hope you will give this project a try. If you do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or email me at arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.

I’m not in partnership with any brands referenced in this post. I’m simply sharing products that I use and enjoy, and I hope you will like them too!

If you enjoy the content on Arthurized Home, select “follow” to receive a notification when new posts are published. To comment, select “leave a comment”. To socialize by email, send to arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Coffee Card Gift with Quick and Easy Cheater Bow

I like to come up with creative ways to present gift cards and one of my favorites is giving a coffee card wrapped in a coffee cup. There’s no element of surprise about the contents, but it’s super easy and fun to do!

When buying a coffee card, I ask for a tall cup with a lid. The gift card fits down inside it perfectly.

For package filler, sometimes I use wrapped candies but today I’m using paper shreds. If you’re using candy, Lindt truffles are a pretty (and tasty!) option.

You can stop right here and you’ve got a clean, minimalist look to your gift wrap; or you can decorate the cup with messages and designs. Sharpie markers in bright colors work well for this. Another option is to add a reusable cup sleeve.

I’m going to make a cheater bow using two coordinating wire edge ribbons. I call it “cheating” because I’m not doing all the twisting and looping of traditional bow making. I’m using a striped “bow” ribbon and a sheer “tie” ribbon.

Start by laying the bow ribbon in a serpentine shape. The folds will become the loops of your bow, so make sure you have the same number of them on each side. I like to do two or three, depending on the length of the ribbon.

Cut the tie ribbon long enough that you can tie two knots and have plenty left over to drape nicely on the gift. Mine is two lengths of 15″ each.

Pinch the folded bow ribbon together in the center.

Using the tie ribbon, make a tight knot around the bow to secure it.

Then using the same tie ribbon, tie a second, loose knot to make the center loop of the bow. Fluff the center loop up slightly.

Trim the ends of the ribbon at an angle. I trim the bow ends pointing downward and the tie ends pointing inward, like the arrows below.

Adhere the bow to the top of the cup and you’re done!

If you enjoy the content on Arthurized Home, select “follow” to receive a notification when new posts are published. To comment, select “leave a comment”. To socialize by email, send to arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.