Christmas in July?

Our Independence morning had a different twist from a normal holiday morning.

Anna and Mary had it on their hearts to do an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox fundraiser with the nieces (see past posts on OCC). They put on a special breakfast and invited all the relatives. The Friday before the 4th, the girls and nieces had a planning meeting. They figured out their menu and invited everyone (the reason for the fundraiser was mostly kept a secret until arrival time).

Sunday afternoon, Abby and Bethany came over to help Anna and Mary make cinnamon roll dough. It was a kitchen full of girls!




Then, Monday morning, the little girls dug out Christmas clothes, and put normal clothes over them so they could keep their secret. When Melanie saw their outfits, she wondered, but they assured her that the aunts knew all about it. You could feel the anticipation in the air as the girls whisked around the house, helping the aunts prepare. They set up Christmas decorations, used Christmas dishes, and well, it really felt like Christmas. If I didn’t know better, I would honestly have thought it was Christmas!




Everyone was greeted with “Merry Christmas” as they arrived.



The girls had a little program, explaining about the boxes, Bethany read Scripture, they sang a Christmas carol, and then after breakfast, we were all given an opportunity to give. The girls had a certain dollar goal, and would you believe we hit it?!!! It was an exciting time!






Anna continues to collect items for the shoeboxes throughout the year, which makes them quite economical. The younger girls will help with the shopping and then be involved with packing them later this year.

We had our traditional 4th of July barbecue that evening. It was a great day!


Celebrating Drew's birthday a day early, which also now is Daniel's!
Celebrating Drew’s birthday a day early, which also now is Daniel’s!


I guess she was having fun with her clean up rag!
I guess she was having fun with her clean up rag!
Nathan and Melanie Maxwell and family
Nathan and Melanie Maxwell and family
Love that smile!
Ellie and I
Ellie and I

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give;
not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7

9 thoughts on “Christmas in July?”

  1. What a great idea! I was just thinking about your family and your Operation Christmas Child boxes this morning, while my daughter and I shopped for school supplies at Walmart to put in our OCC shoeboxes this year. I love that my children have grown up with the mindset of giving! We get a pencil pouch for each shoebox and put pens, pencils, notepads, a pencil sharpener, and sometimes markers or colored pencils in each pouch. But we collect all year round as well – soaps from hotels, small toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes from when we visit the dentist, Valentine socks from the dollar store, as well as candy that we set aside all year long. We like to pack our boxes shortly before school starts, because we tend to have more time and don’t feel as rushed as we are during the collection week in November.

    Thank you for the reminder, and way to go girls on hitting your goal and blessing others!

  2. How exciting to read about your special OCC breakfast! I am the OCC Area Coordinator for the greater Lynchburg, VA Area Team and just love this! 🙂

  3. How neat that they met their goal in raising money! That is so sweet and such a great idea. Love the smiles on everyone’s faces- what special memories! Happy Birthday, Drew! I really like the flag shirts- great family picture 🙂

  4. The picture of Nathan’s family is soooo adorable! Drew looks so happy!!!
    Love the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox idea.
    Blessings to ya’ll! 🙂 🙂

  5. This is such a wonderful project for the girls to be involved in. Introducing them to the act of kindness and giving to others. Something they carry with them into adulthood. Good job Mary and Anna.

    Have any of your adult children felt a calling to out of country mission work? I am heading to Kenya to teach sewing and machine maintenance with girls living in an orphanage, so they have a skill to earn money when they age out of the orphanage. So so many children living in orphanages due to loss of parents/family due to war and AIDS.

    Yay. Let us know about your trip. The adult children have only done short term mission work.

  6. Hope you have been shopping for OCC at Office Max this summer! I have been going weekly to pick up the 1 cent deals. This week they had amazing deals; 1 cent for a pencil sharpener, 1 cent for a pencil pouch, 1 cent for a 3 pack of glue sticks, the list goes on and on. I am buying schools supplies for an upcoming trip to Africa. I read on a website that princess tiaras are a big hit with girls who receive the OCC boxes. My basement is filled for Salvation’s Army Angel Giving Tree. Looks like you guys had a wonderful 4th. Cannot wait to read about the packing of the shoe boxes. Love the shirts that Nathan’s family is wearing for the 4th.

  7. What a sweet idea! Children learn to be givers by giving! Great for them to start early. We shop for shoeboxes all year long too! This month is a great time for the back to school sales at Office Depot, staples, etc.

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