How to do a gift box has just been updated for 2020 (at last!). 

Firstly, thank you for wanting to be a part of the Project! 

We love your donations of toiletries or cosmetics, and once we have the donations, we hold a few 'packing parties' where we get together and have fun putting boxes and food hampers together. As has been said in other parts of the website, we gather donations for women, children, babies, teenagers, and men - all of whom may be clients of Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Services through their refuges, outreach work, or resettlement services.  

However we know that some people do like to pack a box, and someone told me a while ago that this was a great way to introduce their children to being generous to others at Christmas!  

But please, don't worry if you can't pack a box, even a gift of a bottle of shampoo or bar of soap will help. 

There is no set recipe for a gift box, but here’s our best guidelines. 

Important: Regarding size of the products, we recommend a 250-350ml bottle of shower gel /  shampoo etc as otherwise there may not be enough space for other items in the box and they can get rather heavy to move around. 

What to put in: 
Really useful basics
  • Shower Gel
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Small hand gel
  • Disposable face masks
  • Body Lotion
  • Deodorant - roll on
  • Hairbrush & comb
  • Face flannel
Helpful, comforting things:
  • Face wash/toner/moisturiser 
  • Make up remover  
  • Sanitary products 
  • Cosmetics – face, nails, make-up, fake tan, hair dye - we are giving those apart from the boxes this year. 
  • Pampering items 
  • Hair products: spray, mousse and also hair bands or scrunchies 
Just nice things to have as requested in 2020: 
  • Slipper socks (the kind that go easily into the washing machine) 
  • Pampering items - scrub, face masks, foot masks, massage oil
  • Art supplies, mindfulness colouring books, so including coloured pencils, crayons 
  • Hot water bottles, because some of the refuges can be a bit draughty and having one can be handy to relieve menstrual cramps.
  • Mugs (nice lightweight ones please so no huge 1l ones!) 
  • Sweets, especially chocolate!   
You can download a set of our latest guidelines and box packing lists here.

Q: What about Children? 
A: Yes, there are children in the refuges, young ones as well as teens, both boys and girls. There are often families in refuges, so we also collect any of the following: All of the above but for younger recipients (!), and including boys items such as men’s shower gel, deodorant, socks, hair gel, etc.  Toys and games are especially appreciated by  the younger people as well as sweets.  

Q: What about Babies? 
A: Sadly, having a baby can often be a real trigger point for domestic abuse to get worse, so babies are often in need within refuges. If you can knit, or know someone who loves to do it, then hand knitted baby clothes bring a really lovely touch to a gift bag.

Any of the following items make great baby 'boxes' and we have found packing them into a small carry-on size bag is really helpful and appreciated: 
Baby shampoo, Baby Lotion, Baby Oil, Nappy cream, Cotton wool, Wipes, Nappy bags, Clean, unused dummies, Small toy (check for the CE label please), pack of nappies if there is space. And of course, anything helpful for a new mum: nipple cream, knickers, nursing pads, etc! 

Q: Is there anything I should leave out of a Box? 
A: It’s all to do with the safety of the people receiving the boxes. 
PLEASE don’t include 
Simple medicines – paracetamol, aspirin, Calpol. 
Anything sharp – mirrors, scissors, razors, tweezers. 
Candles, tea lights, bath bombs / foam / oil as there are only showers in refuge.
If we do get any of these items, they are removed from the gift boxes and given to ODAS to hand over as appropriate. 

Q: Do I have to wrap the boxes? 
A: No! The refuges like to check the boxes themselves to make sure the contents are a good match for the person that needs them, so they prefer the boxes to be unsealed. (If you are a creative person who loves to make things beautiful then of course you can decorate the boxes, or cover the lid with wrapping paper.)  

But please leave the boxes open, perhaps with an elastic band or ribbon / string around them to keep the lid on! If possible, put a small label on it stating who the contents are for ... just in case.

Q: Where do I donate the boxes?
A: We will have a series of events where we are collecting donations in 2020, these will be advertised on here as well as Facebook, Twitter, Daily Info etc. 

And finally...
Thank you so much for being a part of this project.
Selecting ingredients

Packing boxes

More boxes