Please feel free to use your own creative thoughts, or modify the ones below. We pray that God draws your community closer together as you reach out to bless children for his glory.
This idea gives you some room for creativity! Set a goal for how many children your group wants to help, and place a “Joy Meter” in a prominent place. Each time a box is brought in, fill your meter a little more. Your Joy Meter could be a thermometer drawn on a large piece of paper, a map-of-the-world coloring sheet that gets filled in as benchmarks are met, or a large plastic tube that you fill with different colored sand each time a gift is dropped off — the possibilities are endless. Remember, the more creative you are, the more it will inspire your parishioners to “feel the joy!”
Before your gifts are taken to the Drop-off Center, have a special time of blessing for the Boxes of Joy at Sunday Mass. Pray that the Lord will bless the gifts on their journey and that they will show the love of Christ to the children, their families and the entire community.
Encourage each family to make this a part of their family’s Christmas celebration. Have a family fun night by going to the store to buy items, and then come home to pack the Boxes of Joy and make a card for the children who receive them.
Promote your Box of Joy campaign through skits in catechism classes and other children’s or youth ministry events. For example, ask two adult members to dress up like Boxes of Joy talking about the journey they’re about to make across the world. Or have children participate, representing children from the U.S. and children in the developing countries that would be receiving the boxes. Show the difference in the children’s lives and build compassion for the poor in the hearts of your students.
Serve hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and candy canes and ask every family to bring the items to pack in their boxes. Play Christmas music and set up a Christmas card and box-wrapping station. Each box can include a Christmas card to make the children feel special. (Lids must be wrapped in a way so they can still open.)
In catechism classes, turn your Box of Joy campaign into a friendly competition to see who can pack the most Boxes of Joy! This competition could be between boys and girls, between grades or between teams within your group. Give children weekly updates on who is winning — and give them a fun incentive to participate. For instance, the winning team receives a pizza party.
When your group collects all your Boxes of Joy, caravan them to your Drop-off Center. Make it fun for the children in your parish or school by decorating cars. Use window paint to say things like, “I packed a Box of Joy for Christmas,” or “For Kids Who Wish for Just One Gift.”
Have a program in your parish or school to pack a Box of Joy in honor or memory of someone.
Don’t forget to get your parish’s youth group involved in this project. Ask them to volunteer to promote Box of Joy in your parish and community. Don’t forget to listen to their suggestions — they have some of the most creative ideas in your congregation and can get your campaign all over social media!
Encourage your parishioners or students to bring enough boxes to build a “Christmas tree” at a gathering area in your parish. By the time Box of Joy Week comes, you will have gathered plenty of boxes and made a beautiful Christmas display!
Once a week, before the Boxes of Joy are collected, explain to children’s catechism classes what it means to be a child living in poverty overseas. Many children might not be aware that other children don’t have food to eat, clothes to wear, a pencil for school or toys to play with like they do.
Host a 5K run/walk in your community; make the entry fee a filled Box of Joy for a child.
Recruit a prayer team from your parish or a social justice team to meet regularly the month before Box of Joy Week. Here are some ways they can cover this ministry in prayer:
1. Use the provided gift box or any shoebox (approximately 12″ x 5″.)
2. Fill out and attach the Boy/Girl label to box lid, if needed.
3. Include $9 check (no cash) in provided envelope. Place on gifts.
4. Secure the lid with a rubber band (no tape please).
We encourage you to write a personal note or handmade Christmas card and share a photo of yourself or family (advisable for a parent or a teacher to review notes written by children).
Small plush animals
Small balls (tennis, etc.)
Ball (deflated), with pump
Cars / Trucks
Beanbag / Hacky sack
Unopened fast-food toys
Lego® building blocks
Harmonica, kazoo or other
Mini board games
Craft kit (beads, elastic, etc.)
Pencils, colored pencils
Small board books
Glue stick (no liquid)
Dry paints (no liquid paint)
Please seal in a Ziploc®-style bag (no chocolates)
Comb / Brush
Forks & Spoons
Cup / Bottle with lid
Toothpaste (in the box)
Toothbrush and floss
Hand wipes (no gels)
Nail clippers / Emery board
Purse or Wallet
Hair / Head bands
Cross or Rosary
Food or Beverages • Medicines or Vitamins • Liquids (shampoo, nail polish, etc.) • Gels (antibacterial, etc.) • Chocolate • Military / Police Toys • Toy Weapons • Glass / Breakables • Knives / Tools