What does Christmas mean to you? Christmas- to most of us is a time spent with loved ones, a relaxing time spent indulging on mince pies and receiving gifts, yet it is alarming to realise that this time of joy lies in stark contrast for millions of children worldwide. Christmas Day is just another regular day, whereby family’s main aims are to secure basic necessities. Since 1993, Samaritans purse project, operation Christmas child has helped to alleviate this by collecting and delivering more than 135 million gift filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories. Operation Christmas shoebox is an annual organisation ran by Samaritans purse which provides all ages from babies to teenagers a special Christmas gift. The mission of operation Christmas child is to show God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and together with the local church worldwide, share the news of Jesus Christ.

Schools up and down the UK can help to make a difference to a child’s Christmas today, like Ursuline High School in Wimbledon who have been a part of this project for many years as it reflects the school’s Christian ethos of ‘Serivam’ (to serve). On the 27th November, Ursuline’s Sixth Form, came together to send off an astonishing 243 boxes which were wrapped and carefully filled with Christmas treats for children of all ages, less fortunate this festive season. As the boxes were ready to be distributed, Ms. Murphy, Ursuline High School’s Chaplain explained how “During this season of Christmas, we spend a lot of time thinking about what we would like for Christmas” but she also believes it is “important to encourage the students to think of those less fortunate and take the time to make a gift for them. This is a reminder that Christmas is a season for giving not receiving”.

Operation Christmas Child is a direct way for young people to become involved and impact on the lives of those less fortunate. To find out how to pack a box, see the journeys and stories these boxes have made both in the UK and internationally and also make a difference to a child’s Christmas by donating, go to www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child. Remember Christmas is a season of giving not just receiving, see what difference you can make.