Quick Christmas Toys~OCC

OCC table banner


What a wonderful organization Operation Christmas Child is! Shoe boxes filled with age/gender appropriate gifts are given to children who might otherwise receive no gifts on this most special holiday.  These are children in war torn areas, in refugee camps, and in areas of disaster like the Philippines.


OCC stuffies

I’ve had a big time these past few weeks making little stuffed toys for the 2-4 year old boxes.  This age group seems to be somewhat challenging–to find items both safe and small enough to fit into the shoe boxes.  Last year when the chairwoman from our church asked if I had any ideas, these so called “stuffies” or “softies” came to mind immediately.   The toys made then were packed into boxes that were sent to little ones around the world.

There are so many sources for the machine embroidery designs.  I learned the hard way to avoid patterns with intricate shapes that make it frustrating, time consuming and nearly impossible to turn right side out.  One of my favorite sets is Anita Goodesigns’ Stuffed Animals.   Each design comes as a stuffed animal, a quilted applique’ and fully stitched version and the collection includes a juvenile alphabet.  An appliqued onesie would be sweet with a matching stuffed toy.

Other favorites include  Embroidery Garden’s Softie Toys,  and Hatched in Africa’s Stuffed Toys (I stuck with the bears, duck and owl).

Though time is running out, it’s not too late if you would like to participate. Stitching toys is such a fun and meaningful  opportunity to use our skills and the scraps spilling out from our overflowing stashes. With an embroidery machine, they are quickly made.  With a standard sewing machine, the toys could still be made quickly.  It is just plain fun to combine bits of fabric to complete a soft toy for a needy child.

Many of our church members shop all year and fill several shoe boxes with these items.  For our two older grandchildren, 9 yo Laurel and 8 yo Robert, filling shoe boxes for children of their same age was a meaningful experience.   The realization that for some children, this would be their only gift, was a sobering awareness.  A lot of thought went into their choices as  they shopped with their mother.


OCC loaded table


This past weekend Laurel and I were invited to a lovely luncheon to celebrate the collection of boxes from our church.  For each of the two hostesses I embroidered one of my always ready,  pre-washed, pressed and starched gingham bordered All About Blanks dishtowels.  The embroidery design was  the 5×7 Christmas border from A Bit of Stitch.   Arched over the border was the text Operation Christmas Child 2013.    In all the commotion of getting ready, I forgot to take a picture.  But they were very nice, thanks to the design and the ready-made towels.

Now, I’m moving on to very pressing deadlines for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What are you sewing?  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nana Fun

Headed to the car on a rainy Sunday last week, Laurel complained about the non-stop allergies and asthma that plague her so.  When she included cats in her list of allergies, Robert pooh-poohed the notion.

“You’re not allergic to cats.  You go down to the goat barn with Nana every time she feeds the cats and you’re just fine,”  he said.

Laurel gave him a stoney look and replied, “I AM allergic to cats.  I’ve been tested.” 

Then she turned to me and wondered why it was that on a rainy day such as this her allergies are always worse. 

Robert rolled his eyes and said, “That’s because it’s raining cats and dogs.”

10 responses to “Quick Christmas Toys~OCC

  1. Kids say the BEST things!!! LOL

  2. So cute, but I know how it is to be allergic to cats…and so much more. Folks who have cats just don’t understand the magnitude of that allergy.

  3. Terri, they surely do! I wish I had written down all the things my children said. Now, I’ve managed to record a few here on the blog but I’ve missed so many. Sigh…

  4. Beckie, cat allergy is especially awful for an animal lover like Laurel. I’m sorry that you suffer with them. When I was a child, only one or two of my classmates had allergies and they were really “cool” girls. I felt so proletariate because I had none. Now, of course, I am so grateful but have so much sympathy for my two children,at least one grandchild, and anyone else with the curse.

  5. How absolutely funny! Those are such moments that you wish you could freeze into time! My 3 grandsons are in their late 20’s now but many a car ride was simply hilarious because of their banter, not to mention the wrestling! Those 3 boys ALWAYS seemed to be on the floor in a tousle of some sort and many a time I’m sure the other drivers on the freeway wondered what was going on in the backseat of that old Grandma’s car!! It still makes me smile to think about it!

  6. Memories of well loved children can bring smiles for the rest of our lives. I’m sure you treasure your grandsons’ “banter” and would love to hear it again. You had your hands full with those boy!

  7. Our family filled a shoebox for the first time this year. The kids really enjoyed helping. (Though I think Noel wished she could keep half the toys!)

  8. Operation Christmas Child is such a good activity for children. Robert and Laurel each filled a box and were so moved to think that this may be the only Christmas gift –or any gift–that a child might receive. It was good for Noel to give up something she wanted for someone else–even if it wasn’t what she wanted! I remember when our son was about 8, he was given money to shop at the Secret Santa event at school, where the children could buy gifts for family members. He came home with a bag full of things for himself, saying he just couldn’t resist them. At least he was honest!

  9. This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing! My WMU group is filling a tub to send to Honduras with a mission group. I hope I have time to make some of these before then.
    I love doing the shoe boxes at church also.

  10. Shirley, it’s so nice to know that this post was helpful. These little stuffies make up so quickly and acknowledge the innocent playfulness of children. Most of the items they are given are, necessarily, utilitarian. I hope you can make some up for the children of Honduras

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