I think this is the latest that I've ever sent out Christmas stuff!! I actually was ahead of the game for a while, since I bought so many things on clearance last year, but then we ended up losing most of the correspondents I had stuff ready for, and I was left with the kiddos I still needed to shop for! :) This year I am sending out the most I've ever sent for Christmas for our kids. As of this writing, we have 67 kiddos, plus "half" a kid that I sponsor with my friend Steph! I've filled up two flat rate boxes full of goodies for the kids!!
For each child, I wanted to send three basic things- a Christmas card, a Christmas themed letter, and a gift. I made myself a chart so I could check off what I'd already prepared for each kiddo! Shopping the clearance sales after the last holiday season really helped me out by saving both time and money! I was able to purchase a few dozen little Christmas activity books on clearance from Lifeway. They are geared toward younger kids, but they were super cute. And the original price on them was $0.49, so when they went on clearance, I got them for pennies!! Some other items that we sent our kids for Christmas gifts included the following:
- Mini wall calendars (Michael's and the Dollar Tree)
- Student planners (Dollar Tree)
- Pocket calendars (Michael's)
- Sticker books (Michael's and Dollar Tree)
- Notepads and diaries (Target)
- Christmas-themed licensed character coloring books (Walgreen's)
- Dover activity books (Amazon)
- Christmas-themed advent devotionals (Lifeway)
- Mini "sampler" books from Priscilla Shirer (these are also at Lifeway, and are super cool! They're like little condensed versions of popular books and Bible studies!)
I got this year's Christmas cards two places- I had a few boxes I purchased from Half Price books, and they were super cute! But then I started running low on funds, so I got the rest from Lifeway's selection of boxed Christmas cards (16 for $3.99.) They were also very cute, and I just put them in bigger envelopes so some extra stuff would fit in there!
One new thing I sent out this year were personalized ornaments for the kids! My mom found these super cute angel ornaments at Hobby Lobby. They're blank, to be colored in, and each angel (boys and girls) is holding a little banner. So we colored them all and wrote the kids' names on there. I had my friends and family color some at my Compassion Christmas party back in August, and we've been working on the others ever since! After each angel was colored, I'd label the back with the child's number and include a message like "my mom colored this angel for you!" Then I had them laminated and punched a hole in the top. The string that came with the ornaments was really flimsy and not pre-tied, so I didn't include it, but a small of thread at the top should go through mail processing just fine- especially if the ornaments are tucked in an envelope, which mine were! Honestly, I think the ornaments are what kept us tied up so long- there were a lot of them to color, and then after I got them laminated I still had to cut them out and match them up with each child's card! It's worth it, though. I think they'll like them. :)
Sorry the pic is so blurry, but here's Patricia's card, gift, and angel (colored by Steph!)
For my Christmas letters this year (which I am still finishing and will send a little later) I had what I think is a pretty cool idea. Sometimes I like to imagine how I would spend time with my sponsor kids if they came to visit me, instead of the other way around! So for my Christmas letters, I am going to write out what it would be like if they came to visit my family for the holidays! I'm telling them about the weather, my family's traditions, and all the places we would visit. I think it will be fun. Hopefully I will get some response letters telling me about holiday celebrations with my kids! :)
Also in this package, I am sending out Thanksgiving cards, which I got for a good price at Lifeway (they have some bargain cards from Dayspring that are super cute!) In each card I just wrote a quick message like "Happy Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for you!" Thanksgiving letters will be sent out separately. I am also sending out some random gifts to some of the kids, because I need to downsize my stash a little bit. I've been thinking about literacy a lot lately, since we have so many programs at the library where kids can win free books- we have stacks of them sitting around, and millions more available for checkout. I think it's really important to send books to our kids, because low reading levels hold them back at school, it opens up new worlds for them, and they may not have many books accessible to them! So I am always shopping clearance sections and yard sales for paperbacks to send out to my kids (mostly the English speakers, but occasionally I'll find some in another language!) So I am also sending out books to almost all my Kenyans in this mailing. Some examples of the books I'm sending out are: an easy reader book about elephants; a counting picture book; a book about the human heart and how it functions; a book about space; an atlas; a book about service dogs; a book about plants of the rain forest. I hope that they're well received. Now I need to go stock up on some more!
What sorts of Christmas goodies are you sending out to your sponsor kids? I'd love to hear about them!