Shoebox Show-and-Tell

Hooray!  Show-and-Tell time, featuring:

My Shoebox!

(as part of Operation Christmas Child.  Remember???)

OOH! Stuff!

Ok, so I wouldn’t be the Ginger Penny Pincher if I didn’t provide you the details, including prices, of how I acquired all this stuff for my shoebox — which by the way, is intended for a girl, aged 10-14.

(Per the Samaritan’s Purse website, you’re supposed to pick the age and gender, so I picked this because I figured there weren’t as many people picking the older age group… but I just made that up… I don’t know if it’s necessarily true.)

Before I went shopping, I turned to what I already had.  Being a dance teacher for last three years, I’ve accumulated a lot of the typical “teacher’s gifts.”  Of course, I love these gifts (I do! — and love the gesture even more) but I don’t need three dozen packs of note cards or twenty scarves or fifty bars of decorative soap or whatever.  I can only write so many notes and take so many baths, and… well, I don’t really feel you can ever have too many scarves, but in this case, you know, I wanted to be giving :)   So… yes, I am guilty of re-gifting.  However, in my defense, these are things that probably would have gone to Goodwill eventually, and I think as long as it hasn’t been used, what’s the harm?  I’m sure the recipient will appreciate these things more than I ever could, and that’s what it’s all about.

So… I looked through what I had that had either never been used or never been opened, then completed the shoebox with a few store bought things as well.

Here’s a step-by-step:

(I show you these things not just to show-and-tell brag, though I really like that part; I want to show you how EASY and economically effective these can be!)

I could have gotten a plastic shoebox, but I didn’t see any that were quite big enough, so I settled on one from a pair of Josh’s enormous shoes.  Here’s the before of the very spent shoebox.

Yeah, gross.  However, it was the perfect size, i.e., BIG — so I fortified it with some staples and tape and covered it in red paper and green stickers (so festive).

Here’s a run down of the box’s contents:

Teacher's gifts, re-gifted! (Don't judge me, you've done it before.)

These are all teacher’s gifts, with the exception of the two necklaces. I’ve always thought the scarf was pretty, I’ve just never worn it (in fact, it still had its tags).  The beaded bracelets were also a teacher’s gift, but again… I just never wore them.  The beaded necklace with the silver heart was actually something I had when I was a little girl, and I thought now was a good time to pass it on.  The other “silver” necklace is actually the locket that came with the VHS tape of The Secret Garden (remember when that movie came out in the early 90’s?).  I never wore it when I was a child, but for some reason never got rid of it.  Again, I felt that now was the time to pass it on.

More re-gifting… I got the chalk board at Dollar Tree about a year ago, and the package of chalk has never been opened.  I drew a design on it and stuck it in the bottom of the box — and it fit (another reason I picked the Bigfoot shoebox).  The sparkly, fuzzy green zippable pencil bag was a teacher’s gift from a long time ago and I filled it with peppermints (because you can send hard candy).  The stickers are leftover from a camp I did this past summer (Look familiar, Spring?), and you can’t tell because of the glare, but the bit of yellow in the lower left hand corner of the picture is a set of notecards and matching envelopes (again… teacher’s gift… the notecards are covered in pink and purple sparkly butterflies with flowers and cupcakes.  No, really. I didn’t make that up).

When reading up on OCC the first year I did it, I was (pleasantly) surprised to hear that most kids’ # 1 requested items were school supplies.  (Love it!)   So, I combined forces with CVS and my unusually extensive office supply storage of items that have never been used/opened and Voila!

The pencils, pencil sharpener, and erasers were all CVS purchases.  The crayons were in a pack that I’d never opened (I’d had some sort of art project in mind, but never followed through).  I took these out of the box and tied them with ribbon.  I couldn’t help it. Must. Be. Crafty.

The highlighters came from home but had NEVER been used (I’m a bit of a highlighter hoarder) so I tied them with ribbon (I tried to stop myself, but I vouldn’t) and TA DA!

You probably didn’t need a close-up, but I gave you one anyway.  That was kinda thoughtful, right?

After school supplies, toiletries are the second most requested items.  Well, given that I have a box literally overflowing with gift soaps (thank you parents of all students I have taught, past, present, and future) I felt I had most of this department covered.  The toothpaste seemed an obvious choice — it is the only liquid-like thing you can pack in the shoeboxes — along with a toothbrush — not pictured, but believe you me, it’s glorious in all its pink-ness — and a package of cotton swabs.

And there you have it!  Re-gifting and one very brief shopping trip later, I have a shoebox for a girl, aged 10-14.  Yay!  Here’s the itemized price list (and another excuse for me to make a list):

Scarf:  FREE

Silver heart beaded necklace:  FREE

Silver locket:  FREE

Green stone bracelet:  FREE

Beaded, stretchy bracelets:  FREE

Chalkboard:  FREE

Chalk:  FREE

Star stickers:  FREE

Sparkly/Fuzzy green zip-up bag:  FREE

Peppermints: $0.99

Sparkly butterfly/flower/cupcake notecards with matching envelopes:  FREE

Crayons:  FREE

Two packs of highlighters:  FREE

Pencils:  $2.77

Eraser multi pack:  $2.87

Sharpener:  $0.99

Brightly colored paper notebook:  $2.67

Two other smaller notebooks:  FREE (these were teacher’s gifts, too.  I don’t think I mentioned that before.)

Toothpaste:  $2.57

Toothbrush: $1.00

Cotton Swabs: $0.99

3 soaps:  FREE

For a grand total of:  $14.85 (plus tax)

OOH! Stuff!

See?  Philanthropy is not just for rich people.  :)  And of course, this is not to say that you should be cheap when putting these boxes together, rather to prove how thiftily it can be done.

After I make the (encouraged) $7.00 donation, I won’t be out more than $22!  Small price tag, big impact.

In fact, here’s an example of the impact it has:

Yeah, good stuff.  So… if you’re interested, it’s not too late, but it will be “too late” after November 21st, this Friday, so get a move on it!

For more info, check out their website:

And please pass on any pics of your own shoeboxes and you can do your own Shoebox Show-and-Tell!!!


3 thoughts on “Shoebox Show-and-Tell

  1. There’s a little 10-14 year old girl out there who is going to be so thrilled to receive this box!

    Also: I re-gift all the time. :D

  2. Why does re-gifting get such a bad rap (pun not intended)? Givers give gifts for recipients to enjoy. If the joy of the gift for the recipient is in becoming the next giver for a new recipient to enjoy, then the original giver has given not one gift, but two. I imagine the original givers of the gifts in your shoebox would be touched to know that you have passed on these little things in such a meaningful way.

    I think my family will be putting together some shoeboxes today. Thanks for the inspiration!

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