4! Think Clean, Think Hygiene – Operation Christmas Child Weekly Countdown

2016 Operation Christmas Child Countdown 4

Shoebox Checklist

Wow Toys Thumbs up

Handmade Gift Thumbs up

Paper Thumbs up

A Note from You Thumbs up

Writing Utensils Thumbs up

Filler Toys Thumbs up

What’s next?

Think Clean, Think Hygiene

Would your children want a bar of soap for Christmas?  Probably not. But that’s because you are most likely providing soap on a regular basis for them.

Most Operation Christmas Child kids would be so happy to find a bar of soap in their shoebox. Or a comb. Or a washcloth.

shoe_box_distribution10_Uganda_Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Hygiene items are another way of saying:

  • You have dignity.
  • You have worth.
  • Your health is important. 

We can’t give them enough to last a lifetime, but sometimes all they (we?) need is a little hope. Maybe in the form of soap.

We could call it: Soap Hope.

Soap Hope

If you wonder if soap and a washcloth can really give one hope, check out this interview with Alex from Rwanda, an Operation Christmas Child recipient of soap hope.

“Even the washcloth had a smell.”

For that reason, I recommend wrapping your soap in a washcloth or soap saver, then tucking it into a ziploc bag.  🙂

Hygiene Items for Our Shoeboxes

Are you pumped to include some hygienic dignity in your shoebox, but not sure what to include?

shoe_box_distribution14_Mexico_Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse, the parent organization of Operation Christmas Child, recommends:

Non-liquid Hygiene Items, such as …

  • toothbrushes.
  • bar soap.
  • combs.
  • washcloths.
  • etc.

It’s the etc that always makes the curiosity bug bite my interest.

What are some etc items of cleanliness that we can include in our shoeboxes?

Think Clean Think Hygiene

For that bit of detail, let’s turn to Faithful Provisions, who shares a list of 100 things you can include in a shoebox.

Specifically look for items #65-75.

I’d like to copy and paste her list to make it easy for my readers, but I think it’s more honorable to lead you to Kelly’s website.

Besides, you may glean other ideas about shoeboxing there and we’re all in this together with God.  Smile

shoe_box_distribution16_Nepal__Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

What about Toothpaste?

UPDATE (Aug 2017):

Every year, I wonder about toothpaste. This year, I found this note on the official Operation Christmas Child What Goes in My Shoebox page:

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.
UPDATE (Aug 2017):

So, changes are afoot. Some things are the same though, like what is on the Do Not Include list.


The Do Not’s are far fewer than the Do’s, but they are super important to avoid putting in our shoeboxes.

The No List for Hygiene Items

For the sake of the children (and all the goodies that could be ruined), do NOT include these items:

  • medications or vitamins.
  • lotions.
  • liquids, including soap, shampoo and conditioner.
  • aerosol cans.

Homemade Hygiene

I like making crochet dish/washclothes and soap savers for my shoeboxes.


You can find a few examples and patterns for crochet dish/washclothes here.

And this post has some of my absolute favorite dish/washcloth patterns, one of which makes what I call washing flowers.Flower-Dishcloth1.jpg

To make the soap savers, I do what I did for my hoot owl set.

If you sew, you could make ditty bags, like Ellen and Joy are making, to carry their cleansing items.

Goodie Bag_closed_Made by Ellen

It’s Your Turn

  • What kind of hygiene items do you like to include in your shoeboxes?
  • Can you think of anything else hygienic and handmade (sewn, knitted, crocheted) that could be included?

Don’t forget to read about Alex and the washcloth that had a smell!  🙂

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