100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls: OCC Gifts

Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is coming up soon, but there is still plenty of time to pack a box! Since we know it’s sometimes difficult to come up with ideas, Amy and I have come up with big ol’ lists to get you going. I’m sharing 100 shoebox ideas for a girl and Amy is sharing 100 shoebox ideas for a boy!

OCC Shoebox Items for a Girl

100 Operation Christmas Child Gift Ideas for a Girl.

Keep in mind that with many of these items, even the more practical ones, you can get as creative as you’d like. You could decorate a store-bought gift, like ordinary flip-flops. Or you could make some of the items yourself, like a doll or an apron, for instance. Just don’t get stressed about what to put in your boxes; pack with love, and know that this shoebox will be huge blessing for a child who may have never even received a gift!

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • It’s okay to take things out of the packages they came in. This makes room for more gifts in the box, and it’s more economical because you can split items up between boxes, or team up with friends who are also packing boxes.
  • It doesn’t matter if you choose cardboard boxes or plastic storage boxes. Any shoebox will do.
  • Please don’t send liquids of any kind, as they could leak. Also, no war-related items (weapons, soldier toys, etc), expired food/candy, or fragile items.
  • Keep ages in mind when packing your boxes, especially in regards to safety for the littlest ones!

**Please double-check the “Don’t Send” list for your country, as customs regulations vary.

School and Craft Supplies:

1. pencils
2. pens
3. crayons
4. colored pencils
5. pencil sharpener
6. notebooks or journals
7. picture books, even for older girls
8. glue sticks
9. scissors
10. highlighters or markers
11. chalk
12. coloring books
13. duct tape (in a pretty pattern!)
14. sticky notes
15. stickers
16. rubber stamps
17. ink pads
18. scotch tape
19. pencil case
20. glitter
21. sewing kit
22. fabric quarters
23. watercolor paint sets
24. pom poms
25. stick-on rhinestone jewels
26. mini craft kits
27. masks to decorate

Toiletries and Hair Pretties:

28. nice-smelling bar soap
29. colorful washcloths
30. manicure set (no nail polish)
31. toothbrush
32. toothbrush container (like for travel)
33. hair bows or barrettes
34. comb/brush
35. solid deodorant
36. lip balm/gloss
37. pretty headbands
38. hair ribbons
39. band-aids
40. safety pins
41. travel-size tissue packs


42. yo-yo
43. jacks
44. matchbox cars (girls like them too!)
45. boxed puzzle
46. card games (like UNO)
47. play-doh (make sure it’s sealed well so it doesn’t dry out)
48. stuffed animal
49. marbles
50. finger puppets
51. doll
52. bouncy ball (or tennis ball)
53. kaleidoscope
54. princess wand
55. wooden Jacob’s ladder toy
56. accordian-style folding fan
57. non-breakable tea set
58. toy animal figures
59. travel-size games (like checkers)
60. origami kit
61. spinning top
62. mini etch-a-sketch
63. silly putty
64. slinky
65. sponge pills that expand when put in water
66. kids’ meal toys
67. jump rope


68. small tambourine
69. wooden whistle
70. kazoo
71. maracas
72. bells
73. music box
74. wind chimes
75. harmonica


76. flip-flops
77. fun socks
78. colorful plastic bead necklaces
79. fold-able sunhat
80. sunglasses
81. apron
82. pillowcase dress
83. scarf
84. gloves
85. friendship bracelets (and extra string to make more)
86. wrist watch
87. ballet slippers
88. bandana
89. t-shirt
90. purse
91. tiara
92. clip-on earrings
93. drawstring backpack


94. plastic utensils
95. plastic cup
96. collapsible water bottle
97. curly straw
98. small reusable containers

Extra special:

99. personal note written on pretty paper
100. a photo of your family!

OCC blogger
As a member of iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team, I write about the ministry on a volunteer basis. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.

UPDATE 8/2016:

Candy specifications: During 2016, the following types of candy can be included in shoebox gifts: hard candy, gummy bears, caramels, taffy, and gum—as long as its expiration date is at least six months after National Collection Week: Nov. 14-21, 2016. Starting in 2017, no type of candy can be included in shoebox gifts.

Toothpaste specifications: Toothpaste can be included this year as long as its expiration date is at least six months after National Collection Week: Nov. 14-21, 2016. Starting in 2017, toothpaste cannot be included in shoebox gifts, but a child’s oral hygiene can still be improved by regular use of a toothbrush alone.)

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[…] my friend Jamie at See Jamie Blogs, or click the image above, for a 100 Shoebox Ideas for a Girl list! As a member of iHomeschool […]

Kathy @ House of Hills

Great list! Sending my friends over here who are coming to my box packing party!


You could also send Thin pads and panty liners for the girls 10-14

Angel in Tx

I never thought of this! Thank you!!!


Hello! Yes! This is a great idea as some girls who don’t have access to these items have to miss school while they’re menstruating. I just wanted to say that reusable cloth pads are a much better idea than disposable because, of course, they’re reusable! Not only easy to make but good for the environment.


I love your list! I didn’t even -think- of packing musical things for the kids. I will have to try to add something like that in my boxes for next year!


I don’t know about the US, but in Canada, we’re not allowed to send any toothpaste or lip balm or soft candy(even gum) because of customs regulations. You might want to double check that.

Karen Junior

At a recent OCCC meeting tey told us to no longer send toothpaste. The kids simply don’t know what to do with it. They have tried to show them but it smells so wonderful they want to eat it! Also, a reusable plastic bowl is sooo important! I have been to makeshift homes in Haitian refugee camps in 2012 and many families of 5 or 6 had one plate and one bowl. Thank you for your list! awesome


Hi Karen Junior – Toothpaste from the US is still allowed to be sent. There was some confusion at first because it was no longer listed in the “send” part of the brochure. However OCC does still state (often on their fb page, and I have called them as well) that you are allowed to send toothpaste – however you MUST make sure that the expiration dates are FAR into the future (so if collection week is Nov 2014, the toothpaste should be good at least through spring of the following year).

Norma Sladko

I just read the Do Not Include list on the Samaritan’s Purse website – starting in 2017 toothpaste and candy will NOT be allowed any longer (from the USA).

Whitney at It's Gravy, Baby!

This is our first year participating, so thank you for the list!


I am sharing this GREAT post over on my blog SO many great ideas!


Oh Jamie…this is perfect! We are putting 20 boxes together this year and this list is terrific!


[…] you participate in Operation Christmas Child? Here are 100 ideas of things to put in the […]

[…] are some ideas on what you can put into a little girl’s box and a little […]

[…] 100 ideas to help you pack a shoebox for a girl […]

Ciara Devlin

Is it too late to send some boxes for Christmas.

Ciara Devlin

Thank you

Kayleen Hilyer

I prefer to use the plastic shoeboxes. That way if their box were to get wet after they receive their presents, it wouldn’t get ruined and they would always have it to sore their treasures in or carry water, etc.

Norma Sladko

Plastic shoeboxes are a great idea – IF you use good sturdy ones. I worked in the processing center last year for the first time, and my eyes were opened to a LOT of things. We had a “Shoebox Hospital,” where shoeboxes that needed help went to be “fixed”. The main “patients” in the hospital were broken plastic shoeboxes! I personally repacked (into cardboard shoeboxes) at least 20 gifts that had been packed in Sterlite shoeboxes the one day I worked in that section. Multiply that by the number of processing centers, and the number of days the processing centers… Read more »

[…] 100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls […]


It was recommended to us that when sending soap, send Ivory soap because it will float when dropped in the river and they can find it whereas other brands tend to sink and then their soap is gone.

Angela Vance

Double zippie bag the soap AND also double bag any candy because the smell of the soap contaminates the candy

Mary Kate

This is not to be criticism only advice. I triple freezer or storage ziploc baggies my ivory soap. Same for the hardtack candies. On my first packing I only double packed and 1 shoebox was left behind. Only after one week the candies were opened and were contaminated by the soap smell. I just read the other day that 2 containers, that I imagine were thousands of shoeboxes were still held up at customs in 1 country and not released after 9 months! If you choose not to just don’t pack candies. I go so far as to put the… Read more »

[…] 100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls […]


in the US you can’t add “nice smelling” soap because it smells up the box when it sits in the heat. we’re supposed to use mild regular bar soap double bagged 🙂


I always buy Ivory because it is a good, inexpensive, pure soap. It is very strong smelling and I always leave it in its packaging and double bag it. I also double bag candy and try to put it on the other side of the box from the soap.

Michelle De Rooy

Your suggestions list is fantastic and I hope you don’t mind that I posted a link to your site, rather than reivent the wheel. Isn’t it great to participate in something bigger than ourselves?


If you send a plastic box, it takes up more room in the shipping containers, hence, fewer boxes fit. I have heard that Samaritan’s Purse prefers that you send a regular shoe box. I like the idea of sending a plastic box because it is waterproof and can be reused, but I don’t want to create problems for Samaritan’s Purse. I have used plastic boxes in the past, but was told the above, so I am now sending the shoeboxes that they make. They cost 21 cents to make, so I will give them a donation for the boxes. They… Read more »

Kimberly Jackson

My church is a Relay Center for the Shoebox. I am the Relay Coordinator. Our job is to put shoeboxes into shipping crates and send them on to one of the main Collection Centers. Samaritan’s Purse does not require you to just do Regular Shoe Boxes. I have always done plastic containers and We recommend it to others. The only thing they have suggested to use is use a standard ladies size shoebox or make sure your container is the same size as a standard ladies size shoebox. You can get the same amount of each in a shipping crate.… Read more »


OH, NO! After reading your reply, I went to look and see what kind of plastic containers I bought and they are STERILITE! Do ALL of the Sterilite boxes explode or does it happen only sometimes? Thank you so much for your reply. It’s nice to hear from someone who is actually involved hands-on.

Debbie G

I have read many suggestions about what to pack in, if you choose to pack in a plastic box just be sure it is a sturdy one! I bought cheap ones last year and then reading that the cheap ones get cracked and broken I opted for a sturdier one which I found on sale for around $4 at Michaels. I know it adds to the expense of the boxes but I really like the idea of sending a plastic box! I can picture that child using it for so many purposes! Oh and the boxes I found had neat… Read more »


Is it all sterlite boxes or just the cheap ones with the thin white lids ? Cuz i googled it and there are so many different styles of sterlite ! Mine are sterlite but they are 2 dollars a Piece and have a latching lid.


I heard of a lady on a mission trip in Guatamala. She saw a boy carrying an empty plastic shoebox. When asked about it, the lady was told he’d gotten it in Operation Christmas Child. The boy said the family used it to carry water in because they didn’t have anything else big enough.

Angela Vance

I never knew that about steriliite boxes! I admit I buy the cheap ones… the last few years though I have bought the nice cardboard photo boxes from Michael’s when on sale. I do wrap them but where the tape won’t tear the outside. I include a note to unwrap it for an extra gift.


Do you know what size plastic boxes are better to send? I saw some at Target with a locking lid where one size was 6 quarts, and I believe the other was 16 quarts(looked kind of big…) . I guess it should be somewhere in the middle of those sizes? This is my second year doing the boxes so I was wondering because I’m kind of new… Thanks for the help!!


If you write a letter to the child you are sending the shoebox to, can it be in english or does it have to be in a different language?!


What about books, coloring books, even watches or calculators….all the stuff we send is English…what about things with numbers?

Sue Bange

I was thinking to find a USA map or inflatable globe and put an X on where I live. This well also help them learn how far away we are from them, any thoughts on this

Christine Cranmore

OCC has a form letter you can fill out. It has a map on it, and you color in your country and state, and i put an X on it, because our state is big. It gives you a place to attach a picture, and write about you, or your family. It is a couple of pages — I just use the first page. I hand draw a picture of myself. It’s better than nothing….. and you can put your email or address. Sometimes contributors get mail back. At first, I only sent one boy box, and one girl, now… Read more »


Where can I buy inflatable globes????


[…] […]

[…] 100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls […]


[…] For ideas on what to pack into your box visit […]

Savannah Murphree

I also have a post on my blog about Operation Christmas Child!

visit my blog at
I would love to spread the word about this wonderful “operation”!!!


Put your name and address on your letter and you may get a letter back! My nephew received a letter from a boy in Burkina Faso and my daughter received a letter from a girl in India! That is so exciting!


Jamie where do we send these boxes?

Linda Pauwels

Lists of suggestions never include rulers. Are they not allowed?


One thing to consider when including a ruler is the size. Most 12″ rulers don’t fit in the GO boxes so try to find 6″ or flexible ones.


Most countries use the Metric system, so US rulers with inches wouldn’t make much sense.

colleen smith

we, in our district, have been told for the last couple of years, we are not allowed to put in toothpaste any more. some went to a country about 3 yrs ago and the country refused the boxes, saying the toothpaste was past the due date. not sure if it was or not or was it a ploy to just keep the boxes out of childrens hands.


They need soccer cleats because they play a lot of soccer !

Angela L. Boyscout

Where can I find a place, or who can i contact to get shoe box gifts? its hard to get items for my village…everything is expensive and hard to get fundings to help families that have no jobs, and some families cannot afford to provide gifts for their children due to extreme cold weather in winter.


I get my plastic shoeboxes at The Container Store. They are supposed to be better quality. I buy the carton of 20 for the discount price.


Im new to this and will be doing it this year! Is there a certain amout of items you try to put into the box before sending?


Hi! I don’t have any authority here but I saw your question and thought I’d give my personal advice. As far as I know, there is not a numbered requirement, but myself and all of my friends that do it just pack the box until it is as full as it can be!


Do the boxes have to be able to be opened before the children get them? I tried to pack as much as I can in each box. They would have more support if wrapped and/or have ribbon around the sides and ends.


Yes, all shoeboxes are inspected at the OCC processing centers set up around the country. Dangerous and illegal items are removed from the boxes there. They also have some filler toys in case the shoeboxes aren’t filled up.

Norma Sladko

I will add my two cents worth to this discussion. I worked in a processing center last year for the first time, and learned a LOT about how NOT to pack a shoebox! First of all, if you do wrap the box, be sure to wrap the lid separately. Any boxes that were wrapped all together had to be unwrapped and the paper thrown away. The boxes DO have to be inspected, and the separately wrapped lid allows that without hurting the wrapping. Secondly, I discovered that it is best to not overfill the box. Some GoBoxes that we encountered… Read more »

[…] 100 Shoe Box Ideas for a Girl […]


Hey! Thanks so much for this list! I’m packing one for a 5-9 girl this year and it’s so much fun. The 2014 brochure from OCC is saying no balloons, so I thought that might be helpful to note in case anyone else comes across this on Pinterest just like I did! Again, thanks for the great ideas!


Do you have a similar list for boys?


The website says not to include anything that could melt or freeze, so I have never included crayons…we send pencil crayons and a sharpener instead. And the website specifically says NO toothpaste due to customs regulations. In Canada you can’t even bring toothpaste on a domestic flight these days. Here is a link to the list on their website:


About crayons melting, I am not sure they melt like they used to when I was a kid. We go through lots of crayons with my kids at home here, and one time, I tried to melt broken bits to make rainbow type crayons. I heated and heated, then microwaved and NOTHING melted except faintly on the edges. I have no idea what they are made of. I always thought they were wax.


In the US you can send Toothpaste. No toothpaste is a Canada thing. They do ask for it to be double bagged and it can’t expire in the next 6 months.

[…] 100 Shoe Box Ideas for Girls by See Jamie Blog […]


For the past few years we have made a box or two for OCC and for another organization for orphans. A few months ago, my granddaughter was listening to the musical Annie in the car with her dad. When the part comes up that no one cares about orphans my sweetpea yelled out “My Nana cares about orphans!” That has become a special project for me. Now this year I asked her to help me pick out the special gifts for the shoe boxes. She is very excited and we will have to share by facetime to wrap and pray… Read more »

[…] Need ideas in general for all ages? See my post 100 Shoebox Ideas for a Boy and Jamie’s 100 Shoebox Ideas for a Girl […]


Thank you so much for posting this list! I have been participating for the past four years with a friend. Sort of running out of time, so this helps!


Hi I make rubber band jewlery. Think those would be ok?


Ok because the website says no used items so I wast sure.


Hello I have some questions 🙂 (I`m from Eastern Europe and the gifts go to children from this country) 1) I have a bunch of “Sabrina`s secrets” Magazines (about 20 issues) and I was thinking to add them to one of the boxes this year besides the hygene products, candies, toys and school supplies. Is it appropriate to add them to the box? (the make-up that came with the magazine was expired and had to be thrown away) 2) I have one of those big doll heads with long untangled hair that you can style, almost new and in the… Read more »


They are going to children in my country…it`s specified on their site 🙂 I was just wondering if it was ok to add them to the box.


Actually I think I`ll listen to you and won`t add them…I read their website page and they don`t acctually say where they`re going…:( sorry. Anyways, thanks for responding 🙂 I think I`ll give them away if the chance arises.

Corina Gartman

I was wondering if you could send a hammer since nails were included in the 100 items a boy can have? Please let me know so I can bless a boy with a hammer and nails if I can.

Esther Millet

Thanks a lot for publishing that list! love the great ideas!

Gloria Kerry

My four-year-old niece has a birthday next week and I want to pack her present in an incredible way! Thank you for the ideas in this blog!


Other Ideas:
math flash cards
drawstring skirt (fits many sizes)

A good place to find a lot of things for $1 each:


Luella – Indeed Dollar Tree is the best place for certain items. Everything is $1 or less. I love that store.


Jamie, A club that I supervise at school does the shoebox project each year. Your list, combined with the list for boys that you reference near the top of this blog, is exactly what my students need. Do you mind if I use much of your list verbatim, and make only minor changes in a few spots, and create a printable/downloadable list for my students? I’d place it on our club webpage for ease of access. (I’ll list your webpage as the reference.)

Many thanks!

[…] 100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls […]