Sisterly Tradition – Volunteering at the Christmas Factory

Volunteering at the Christmas Factory shoeboxes with Christmas paper

How does the saying go? Two times a charm and three times a tradition? Or maybe that doesn’t even exist then we have to make it one. My younger sister and I have once again taken an afternoon to volunteering in the Christmas Factory for Operation Christmas Child.

When I suggested the idea back in 2018 and asked if she would join me we didn’t know it will become our own little Christmas tradition. But every October or November we sit down and start looking at dates that would fit our calendar and book us a slot in the Christmas Factory. Even through the pandemic it was important enough for us to not cancel.

Volunteering at the Christmas Factory

And so Friday November 26th at 5pm we entered the Christmas Factory and became little elves. I have talked about how the whole thing works and my experience in a previous blogpost. In short: people can fill a shoe box with presents and necessities, drop it off at defined collecting points and then it gets sent to the logistics centers. There are two in Germany one in the South and then one in Berlin. Here volunteers check each and every shoebox if they fit the requirements. Its mainly tax related but also if the presents fit for the age group or if it really is new toys. There are usually a lot of things people try to send off. Used stuffed animals, stained clothes, broken toys.

I also packed up some boxes again.

This year I packed two boxes for the age group 5-9. And in the last couple years the oldest age group didn’t really had that many boxes and so I wanted to pack that. However this time around it was a lot of boxes for teenagers and hardly any for the youngest age group 2-5. Apparently it does change or the boxes that go through my hand are not representative. However I still gathered some new ideas and so I don’t forget here they are:

  • jumping rope
  • calculator
  • dividers
  • puzzles

I also saw an increase in organic candy and chocolate.

Over all we managed to sent off over 4000 shoeboxes after our shift of 4 hours. I have to admit my back hurt after that but it was so great to do it again. During the time there we don’t really get to talk much. Always very focused on the task. I have always taken the position in checking the boxes for the items while my sister is the logistics pro and tapes the shoe boxes up and sorts them in the right way so they can be loaded to the trucks.

Volunteering at the Christmas Factory us

Some time in between we had a moment to take a selfie. But I was saying that we don’t get to talk much during our work there. However it takes about 30-45 minutes to get to the Christmas Factory and that time we can use to catch up and take.

I love our sisterly tradition we have made up here. We even “uninvited” people who also wanted to join us. Maybe we do to days of volunteering but the sister thing is very dear to my heart and I am happy my sister is enjoying it too.

Do you have any tradition with your sibling? Id love to hear. And since its midnight now I really need to go to bed.

Good night

Tobia

Some of the photos were taken by berlinmittekind.

6 thoughts on “Sisterly Tradition – Volunteering at the Christmas Factory

  1. I LOVE this!

    I’ve already mentioned that we pack shoeboxes (here in Canada) for Operation Christmas Child, but I’d love to be involved with the process as it moves closer and closer to the children who receive those boxes.

    I LOVE the idea of a jumping rope and calculator. Making a note of both of those. We’re no longer allowed to include any candy in our boxes (?); we used to be able to send hard candies, but can’t do that or send toothpaste or any other liquid/gel/cream – even bar soap is not allowed anymore.

    Some of the practical things we usually send: toothbrushes, Bandaids, flashlights, tape, socks. Lots of art supplies (markers, little pads of paper, stickers, pencils and a pencil sharpener). Then we try to send a new stuffed animal, small toys, fun hair products (elastics, ribbons), bouncy balls. I know someone that send new sneakers, which is a great idea…but fills most of the box!

    Love the program, and think it’s wonderful you help out! Gold star :)
    Elisabeth recently posted…Still Grateful for Water (Or, Why I Re-Wrapped Christmas Presents at 4 AM)My Profile

    1. Thank you Elisabeth. The items you include are really great. I have seen some fun hair accessories and I now wonder why I never included any in my box yet. I think I need to make a note there. I love sending off art supplies. As I kid this was always very special to me but not something I would get my hand on all the time.

      As for the candy I guess it is different for any content what the tax laws are and what you can send. But how sad that ne candy can be included now. And soap bars is strange. We even send of whole bottles of shampoo. But I guess they will be transported by truck here in Europe and not planes.

      I love that you also participate in packing the shoe boxes. I know there are a lot of services out and it is hard to know which ones is actually reaching the people. I think my time is a good investment here. Do you have any possibilities to be involved more besides packing shoeboxes in Canada?

  2. I love this so much! The program itself and that you’re volunteering with your sister. What a perfect tradition.
    I’d love to be the shoe box wrapper… I love wrapping gifts! :)

    1. Well it is more a tape wrapper. The shoeboxes usually are wrapped by the people who donate. Or its provided printed boxes. When there is a shoebox completely wrapped and we can’t open it we have to unwrap and repack. But maybe you can provide wrapping service for people who want to fill the boxes.

      I really love our tradition and am glad we are doing it.already looking forward to next year.

  3. This sounds so, so fun! We’ve donated boxes like this in the past. But I never though about the fact that someone needed to go through and check every box. What a lovely sister tradition!

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