It’s Shoebox Time Again! To Theme or Not to Theme!


As you know, I love to pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child. [Yes, I know. I do know who Franklin Graham supports other than Jesus. Yep. Got it. This isn’t about politics, ok?]

Theme Boxes

Lots of people enjoy packing theme boxes for children. It lets a child experience the idea, event, character, whatever, in a deeper way. Every year I do a Spiderman box for a little boy since my son was obsessed with Spidey! I also do a Snoopy box since I love Snoopy. In the past, I’ve done a Frozen box for a 5– 9-year-old girl, a farm box for a toddler boy and a few others. I try not to go too far with it–every item in the box doesn’t have to have Snoopy or whoever. I just do not use any other theme/character. There are always plain items. This year I had my Spidey and Snoopy boxes (but forgot to take photos, of course!) as well as a Hello Kitty box for a toddler girl and a dinosaur box for a 5 to a 9-year-old boy with toys, Hot Wheels made like dinosaurs and a special dinosaur t-shirt!

Note: Please remove the packaging whenever possible. I’ve shown it here to make the photo easier to understand.


Batman themed items included socks, toys, Batmobile Hot Wheels, pencil-topper eraser, hoodie, water bottle and (not shown) stickers and coloring book.


Cincinnati Reds–I did two of these. This is the big boy version. It has the Reds pencil bag, notebooks, string backpack, t-shirt as well as baseball-themed pencil, socks, erasers, and scissors and Hot Wheels car and (not shown) rubber baseball.

The little boy version had the same pencil bag, pencil, erasers, scissors and Hot Wheels car, rubber baseball, as well as a sports coloring book, baseball mini-figures, 1 baseball themed t-shirt and one tank top (plus shorts), baseball print socks and more. This box also has a Snoopy stuffie in baseball uniform! Both boxes get a team photo in the inside of the lid.

73415939_10163401807115643_6582668496499376128_oCincinnati Bengals –again I’m showing the big boy version. Same sort of things as the Reds box, but also include a football-themed pack of index cards and a Bengals football stuffie. As you can see there are plenty of non-themed items to round-out the box. Neither the shorts nor the shirt (not shown) was related, either.

The little boy box had a football-themed shorts outfit, a small soft football, two football mini-figures, a sports coloring book, and school supplies and socks like the big boy box. Both boxes get a team photo in the inside of the lid.

Family Themed Boxes

I also did family-themed boxes. Spiderman, which I did for a toddler boy this year, is for my son. My daughter’s box (which I accidentally deleted the photo of) had some of her favorites: Barbie, little girls sticker-nails, a stuffed giraffe, a toy dolphin, a stuffed taco to clip on the folding backpack, taco socks and other things she loved as a girl or still loves.


This box celebrates the things my now-grown nephew loves. Many of these things his own son loves today, like the Ninja Turtles! (I cut the weapons off the figures). Turtles Items include a magic washcloth, coloring book, toys, and stickers. I choose clothing with “turtle” colors. He had a large collection of Pound Puppies, so I had to include one of those! He’s a Martial Arts champion so I found the little martial arts guys to play with. Finally, he played football in high school so the scissors and socks are football-themed and there is a soft football in his high school’s main color-green. The soapbox is in his college’s main color. It was fun to remember all of these things as I looked for them. I also put a special note in each of these boxes.


I loved finding this little magnetic dress-up set of a football player! Since American football isn’t known everywhere, this was a nice way to educate. I thought it would be good fun during the rainy season if his country has to endure that. This box was prepared for a boy 5 to 9 years old. (It missed getting into the original photo above).

For those who are interested, here is a list of what was in the other themed boxes:

Dinosaurs: School box full of high-quality dinosaur toys, Dinosaur t-shirt, socks, Hot Wheels, pencils, erasers, stickers, coloring book, stuffie, dinosaur flashcards, and dinosaur child’s nonfiction picture book.

Hello Kitty: Toddler’s H.K. ballcap, coloring book, school supplies (except for plain pink pencil bag), stuffie, t-shirt (plain pink shorts), and more.

Snoopy: This year was my “lightest” Snoopy box. It only had a t-shirt, bandana, eraser, and stuffie. Other years have been way better!

Spiderman: This was for a toddler boy so it had Spidey swim trunks/shorts, t-shirt, small stuffie, Crock-style shoes, pencil bag, erasers, 6 Spidey Hot Wheels, stickers and more.

My desired contents in all boxes: full school supplies, an outfit including underwear (though due to space, Batman got a hoodie and shorts, but no shirt), and a toothbrush. Everything else can be different box-to-box.

More to Come

In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more photos of my boxes by age/gender as well as some packed by friends. My way is only one way–there is no right or wrong way! The forbidden items list is very short:

Do Not Include

Candy; toothpaste; gum; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; seeds; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans. (source)

Have you ever packed a themed box? What theme and for what age(s)/gender(s)? Leave me a comment–you can even link to your post about it!

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