Over the course of the last year I’ve heard myself say more than once, “I’m quite taken with boys ages 10-14.”


I’m quite taken with knowing we can do something about the discrepancy when it comes to Operation Christmas Child and the lack of boxes for boys.

In case you’re not familiar with OCC  they gather millions of packed boxes of Christmas gifts. People over around North America have prepared boxes filled with gifts for either a boy or a girl in the age categories of 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Can you guess which kids got the most boxes? Of course you can, because you’re no dummy. Girls ages 2-4 and 5-9. And I get it. I really do. All that cute girl stuff!! Who wouldn’t love to get one of those boxes?!

A boy age 10-14, that’s who. OCC is driven by the generosity of thousands and do their best to distribute what they have. But if you only have girl boxes for 2-4 or 5-9 year-olds, what can you do?


Last year you were as taken with boys ages 10-14 as I was. A humble movement started for the boys.

Do you recall how after writing the first post, my sister Elizabeth, Niece #1, and I spent four hours at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse in Denver helping to check and package boxes for OCC? An hour into in Niece #1 called out to me, “Aunt Amy.”

I paused, it’s not really a big chatting job and I was lost in thought about how I tend to romanticize semi-hard labor and then my nails break and my back aches I wonder why all parts of serving aren’t as glamourous and fun as shopping for children and making festive images for blog posts to get you and me off our butts. But I digress. “Yes dear one?”

“I’m packing a box for a boy next year. It’s been an hour and I’ve seen, like two. Two boxes in an hour.”

She added with her wry teenage smile (and the fact that she’s a much calmer personality than me and thinks I’m prone to hyperbole. WHAT? Me?!), “You are very persuasive.” 

Can we please have a moment of silence, since asking you to tattoo this on your forehead might be going a bit far.

I told her, it’s not that I’m persuasive, it’s just so damn heart breaking to see girl box after girl box. OK, I didn’t actually cuss at my niece, however, the discrepancy is from the pit of hell.

You know I love math. So, if Eden was a processing plant for Christmas boxes, there would be 50%  for girls and 50% for boys, with roughly 16.7% for each age bracket.

To picture how completely out of whack the numbers are, based on our rate of packing 342.8 boxes an hour, and two of them being for boys ages 10-14 … that is .005—half of one percent. Boys ages 10-14 aren’t even one-percenters.

Put simply, one out of every two hundred boxes is for a boy age 10-14.

But the Kingdom of God is now. Here. Today. The Kingdom of God is in every box for boys.

As we said last year, people are good, but might not know where to start. My friend Katherine made the list of 11 ideas for boys into a PDF. Just print it off and take it to your church or work. Help people understand how under-represented the boys are but how easy it is to help them!


Here is the PDF: operationchristmaschild-boyideas-high


Thank you for being as disturbed as I am. Just now I cranked those numbers and I’m sitting here a bit shocked. This is not right. I am deeply distressed and have already sobbed in the quiet area of the library, trying not to make noise. But change starts small and it grows. Jesus has his eyes on those boys and now He’s got our eyes on them too.

If you’re a regular around here, you know I have truly never done this. I have never asked you to share a post, but would you please share this one? I want as many people as possible to feel empowered to buy gifts for boys.

“But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.” (1 Corinthians 8:1 NLT)

Let’s love on the boys.


If you’ve never seen an OCC processing plant and you’d like a tour of what happens to your box at a packing plant,

Leave A Comment

  1. Mark Allman October 27, 2015 at 9:53 am - Reply

    My family has always supported OCC and even has been to the plant in Boone NC to help with the packaging a couple of times. Our church is a local drop of spot. I did not realize that about those age boys. I will encourage those I know that participate to help that out.

  2. Katie Spohr October 27, 2015 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    We did a boy box in this age bracket because of your post. We plan to do two this year :)

  3. Jennifer October 28, 2015 at 11:06 am - Reply

    We are doing 8 of our boxes specifically for older boys because we know they are the “neglected category.”
    Last year, we found two small plastic toolboxes (roughly the size of shoeboxes) and got tools (as well as hygiene & school supplies and toys) to outfit the boxes. After all, they will be men soon and may already have some grownup responsibilities for which the tools and toolbox may come in handy.
    This year, the little store didn’t have any of the toolboxes, so I was bemoaning the fact to my mom. While she was praying, she was impressed to check online and found that Sears had small Craftsman toolboxes for $4.97. I entered our zip code and found that our local store had 6 in stock, so we rushed down and got them, plus two Craftsman toolbags the same size. Then we filled them same as last year, with tools, toys and supplies.
    Although, I think next year we’ll just get the collapsible bags that we can fit in shoeboxes, because these toolboxes have a removable tray that makes getting everything in a bit of a puzzle. I might have to put a warning on the outside for the Processing Center, because if they open them and move anything, they’ll have to reconfigure the puzzle to get them to shut properly.
    But they are super cute, and we love being able to give the older boys something useful.

    • Beth July 31, 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      I found shoebox-sized toolboxes at Walmart for either $3.99 or $4.99 (can’t remember which) that have no partitions, just one open area. They’re perfect for OCC! I’m filling them with various tools – hammer, pliers, screwdriver, tape measure, nails, screws, etc. – as well as hygiene items, puzzles, Legos, etc..

  4. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker August 15, 2016 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    We packed two boxes last year, and both were for boys 10-14. Here’s what we did (I made a lot of the items):

    I have boys that age and they gave me lots of feedback on the boxes too.

  5. Libby October 28, 2016 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    I have 2 boys and this breaks my heart! I made up a boy box 5-9 and 10-14 once I heard this.

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