29 March 2015

An Operation Christmas Child Dilemma

You know around November when everyone's in the Christmas spirit and collecting and donating presents for children in Africa? Well they finally got here. It's almost April. And nothing says Palm Sunday like an Operation Christmas Child gift distribution.

Just look at the excitement.

Our church handed out their loot this morning. And boy were the kids excited. I mean, our kids were not so excited because we told them about 5 times the presents weren't for them. Because remember back at Christmas when you got presents? Well it's not Christmas and they're not for you. But isn't it exciting watching all the other kids!? No, it's not exciting? Well lots of Americans worked hard to pack these boxes, so you need to sit and watch and be happy for everybody. Or go outside and play with rocks and dirt. (They chose the latter option.)

Photo Credit: Jessica Weixler-Landis. Check our her blog here.

Then as we got up to leave, a friend at the church stopped us because we were leaving before our girls got their gift. Adam was horrified. We're not letting our kids take one of these presents. 

"But your girls go to this church. Why wouldn't they get one?" 

"Um, well. They... Oh well okay, only if there are some leftover."

"Leftover!? Their names were on the list from the beginning. There are two presents just for them."

Then a Canadian friend leaned over and said, "I tried to refuse every year when my kids were little, just take 'em." 

And so our girls proudly left church with their Operation Christmas Child presents while Adam yelled at them to hurry and jump in the car before the whole neighborhood got the wrong idea. 

On the ride home, we discussed the ethical dilemma at great length. Adam remained horrified. 

But their names were on the list, Adam. There's a whole system. We can't mess up the system.

But just think of those sweet old ladies packing those boxes for poor African children. They didn't do it for our kids. It's cheating. 

Oh relax, I think the sweet old ladies would feel just fine about it.

He still made me take a vow to never tell anyone we were on the receiving end of Operation Christmas Child. 

But it's too good not to tell. And the presents were dearly loved by our "poor" African children.

The boxes had crayons, a jump rope, toothbrush, toothpaste, Ivory soap and Mardi Gras beads, Sharpie markers, a teddy bear and an ethnic Barbie (!). And lots and lots of Post-It notes. Because nothing says third world deprivation like a lack of Post-it notes.  

Of course the girls put every hair clip and bobbie pin directly in their hair and they've been crunching on Smarties all day. They're currently fighting over the 1 pair of purple scissors because the Girl Scout troop of Cumming, Georgia did not think to put in two equal pairs. Most likely because they didn't anticipate their present would end up in the hands of ungrateful American sisters. 

But more excitingly, Charlotte got her first pair of gloves. This is the first time she has ever seen them in real life. She has only seen gloves in winter pictures and in Frozen, so the expectation was pretty high. She tried to put all of her fingers in one hole like Loulou's mittens.

Operation Christmas Jazz Hands: She wore them inside.

She wore them outside.

Also. Incredible hand knit booties. Jill thinks we accidentally got the shipment meant for Eastern Europe.

Now before you pass too much judgment or word gets back to North Lanier Baptist Church, the girls packed right back up most of the goods to give to Anastasie's daughter who's about their age. But they're keeping the gloves and the booties. And of course the ethnic Barbie. Thanks Girl Scouts. Thanks Georgia. We're already counting down the days until next Christmas. Next April. 

Anyone know these folks? Please tell them merci from Burkina Faso.


  1. What a riot. SUCH a good story. It belongs on HuffPo.

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  2. That is fab. I love getting the true to life picture. :) I imagine I would be equally mortified by the expectation to accept gifts. also, the gloves are hilarious! What cuties.

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  3. This is hilarious! I would delay telling Charlotte those gloves are for warmth as long as possible. No need to inform her of the cruel reality that some places are cold.

  4. Also, there should be some sort of initiative to make sure kids get these on time for Christmas.

  5. Bahaha! Now I know why you like raising children in Africa...

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