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AIBU to hate charity Christmas shoe boxes?

(315 Posts)
unlucky83 Mon 30-Sep-13 17:55:58

We get asked to one from the school and from Sunday school ...2 Dcs that is 4 of them...last year I cut it down to 2 - doing the same this year
I really really really hate doing them...but DDs are upset if we don't ...
(at school they have an assembly where the people organising it talk to the DCs about them)...
We wander round the shops/supermarket making sure we get all the essentials on the list - buying the cheapest stuff there is ...kind of think hats/gloves/underwear are probably made by the people we send them back to..
I know I'm not on my own - everyone I know who does one says they do the same ...
Even then each box costs at least £30 ...could the money not be better spent directly by the charity buying good quality stuff that is going to last?
On the lists they say extras - like PJs - how the hell do you fit a pair of PJs for a teenager in a shoe box with all the other stuff...I find I can never fit much 'extra' in...usually just sweets as treats - good job they get toothpaste and toothbrushes or they'd have rotten teeth to add to their misery..

Then you have to find a box...then wrap the bloody things...
I just find it really difficult to wrap the box and lid separately and not get an end result that looks like it has been chewed by the dog...just spent the best part of 30 mins wrapping one that looks like a 2 yr old did it...

So am I being unreasonable to hate them and dread the leaflets coming home?

unlucky83 Mon 30-Sep-13 17:57:05

I forgot to add - you even have to find/buy Christmas wrapping paper in OCTOBER - grrrrrrr

LindyHemming Mon 30-Sep-13 17:58:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exexpat Mon 30-Sep-13 18:00:06

YANBU and if you are spending that much on them, the money would definitely do much better going in cash to a proper charity. Can't you just say that this year you have decided to do something else?

MrsWolowitz Mon 30-Sep-13 18:00:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrohnicallyLurking Mon 30-Sep-13 18:01:28

YANBU. Even apart from the cost/inconvenience of doing them, I read a link (on here maybe?) that organisations are using them as bribes to get children to convert to Christianity. Very underhand tactics.

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Mon 30-Sep-13 18:02:15

I don't trust them ever since we were told we had to do them at school for 'operation christmas child', and that it was totally non-religious, don't worry if you're Hindu or Muslim or Sikh (or just not a massive evangelist tosser), it's fine. hmm

It wasn't.

I know some of the schemes genuinely get to the people in question without any proselytising, but I worry it's so open to exploitation.

picnicbasketcase Mon 30-Sep-13 18:02:42

Don't do them, and say that you order to donate to charities direct.

Renniehorta Mon 30-Sep-13 18:04:21

I always used to put one together when my ds was at primary, However I subsequently discovered that the organisation involved, an evangelical Christian one, used them as part of their proselytising. I was furious as we are atheists and I felt that we had been used.

So no don't feel guilty. Also it may be worth doing some googling and dig into the background of the organisation you are dealing with. If they had been up front and honest I would not have minded so much.

exexpat Mon 30-Sep-13 18:07:42

If it's OCC, there are also lots of objections to the way they operate (the shoeboxes are used as a way to get children interested in signing up for bible classes) and to the organisation that runs it (Samaritan's Purse) - see Alternatives to Operation Christmas Child and Reasons Not To Support OCC. If it's Rotary or one of the other ones, there aren't the same ethical objections, but it is still a very wasteful way of helping children overseas.

Floralnomad Mon 30-Sep-13 18:08:15

I have always refused to participate due to the religious aspects attached but as your DCs go to Sunday school I suppose that's not an issue for you .if it's just the cost and inconvenience I think its a bit unreasonable and you can get wrapping paper all over the place at the moment.

unlucky83 Mon 30-Sep-13 18:12:17

I know the Sunday School one do put a Bible does make me feel a bit hmm
I'm an atheist (and the minister/church know it) -but thought it would be good for my DCs to find out about religion etc... but they like it and want to keep going - guess I would feel even more like a guilty hypocrite not doing it...
The school one isn't religious ....but I do think the children get to see videos of grateful poor children opening them - which makes them want to them...
If someone (a business) said for £35 each I'll do them for you I'd snatch their hand off...

MmmmWhiteWine Mon 30-Sep-13 18:14:01


You don't need to spend £30 on the contents...I know I never spend anywhere that much. And I find it desperately sad that people in the UK would complain about the cost/inconvenience of doing a kind thing for an unknown poverty stricken child somewhere in the world. Will you explain to your children that the reason for not doing a shoebox is because it's a faff to and its just too inconvenient? Great example to set....

MeAndMySpoon Mon 30-Sep-13 18:18:24

Why not, if you're doing two for school and two for sunday school, just tell one of those bodies that you're just doing one per child? Seems entirely reasonable. I don't think they're meant to cost you £30 per box though! shock

Playing Devil's Advocate, if you do a little digging about Samaritan's Purse/Operation Christmas Child, you may decide that doing a shoebox for that particular operation is unreasonable in the first place ... grin

Custardo Mon 30-Sep-13 18:23:29

i volunteered at one. they didn't put religious material in, but they absolutley did open all the boxes to check the contents. for instance if one box had two sets of gloves, then one would be taken out and put in another box.

this of course is v. sensible - but i didn't understand why they were wrapped in the first place in xmas paper

Mightbemiddleaged Mon 30-Sep-13 18:25:00


I am actually almost speechless that anyone could get properly annoyed/ upset about 'having' to go to the 'inconvenience' of sending a sodding box of low cost items to impoverished kids!!

And I couldn't give a rats arse about the religious ideology behind it, those kids will probably do exactly as I am most of m peers did, make up their own minds as they row up and can put things into context etc.

If it bothers you so much just dont other, you have obviously missed the point entirely! ( and £30 a box, MADNESS!! - we do ours for a maximum of a tender usually less!)

exexpat Mon 30-Sep-13 18:25:09

Custards - if it was OCC, the religious material gets handed out at the destination rather than put in the boxes at this end.

CostaLady Mon 30-Sep-13 18:25:23

£30 per box? shock

MmmmWhiteWine Mon 30-Sep-13 18:25:35

Having said that YANBU to choose not to do 4 separate boxes...our school suggest one per family.

PrimalLass Mon 30-Sep-13 18:25:44

Blimey mine cost nothing near that each. I feel guilty now.

exexpat Mon 30-Sep-13 18:25:54

*custardo (sorry, autocorrect)

Floralnomad Mon 30-Sep-13 18:26:09

Personally I don't know how ,as an atheist ,you are doing them at all ! Why don't you just tell the relevant people that you are not doing them on those grounds ie your atheism and explain the same to your children . Surely if you want them to learn about religion you should also be wanting to explain your own beliefs ( or the reasons why you don't believe) to them as well .

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Mon 30-Sep-13 18:28:34

'And I couldn't give a rats arse about the religious ideology behind it, those kids will probably do exactly as I am most of m peers did, make up their own minds as they row up and can put things into context etc.'

Um ... are you sure?

Have you read up on what OCC do? It's really shocking, to be honest, and incredibly patronizing. This is not comparable to being given a nice gentle exposure to religion and being encouraged to make your own mind up - this a group of religious fantatics exploiting very poor children.

eggyhead Mon 30-Sep-13 18:29:21

Don't do it then. Not as if you're going to turn into a frog or something.

exexpat Mon 30-Sep-13 18:30:12

Why not send pick a gift from Oxfam unwrapped or Good Gifts instead? Or spread the money over the year and sponsor a child through Plan? Your DCs would learn a lot more about helping a child living in real poverty by sponsoring through Plan than by putting together a box full of bits and pieces.

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