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Christmas charities where families can volunteer together

Give back this holiday season with one of these charities

Kids having fun making holiday crafts / Shutterstock

Christmas is the time of year when giving brings more satisfaction than getting. It’s part of what makes the holidays such a bright and joyful time of year. Getting together with families and friends and receiving cards from far-away relatives always bring a special smile. You get to see your kids’ faces light up brighter than your tree when they wake up on Christmas morning. It’s a beautiful time to be surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones.

Sadly, the holiday season isn’t the brightest time of year for many people. For some, Christmas is a reminder of loved ones lost. It also can be a very trying time when financial issues don’t allow you to give your children the Christmas you’d like them to have. A gift that can keep on giving is getting involved with Christmas charities.

Lending a helping hand can not only allow people to have a happier holiday, but it’s also beneficial for your children. Giving back as a family can teach kids empathy and the importance of altruism. The holidays are a busy time of year, and your to-do list is probably pretty packed. Finding Christmas charities can be overwhelming, but we can help you and yours help others.

A young man holding Christmas packages.
Pressmaster / Shutterstock

Christmas charities that embrace the meaning of the holiday season

Remember when Charlie Brown was searching for the true meaning of Christmas while Snoopy and the gang were dancing around? It’s not hard to get lost in the commercial aspect of Christmas. While your kiddos probably don’t want real estate like Lucy, they do want whatever the trendiest gift is this holiday season. Teaching your children the real meaning of the season will be the best gift you can give them, and you don’t even have to wrap it.

Volunteering really is good for the soul and more. Research has shown that volunteering has perks for the mind and body. It also teaches valuable life lessons to the kids that they will keep with them long after they leave the nest. Of course, the holidays are a crazy time of year, but you can carve out some time to devote to one of more of these Christmas charities that help to make Christmas a bit brighter for those in need of a helping hand. Here are some Christmas charities to explore this December or any time of year.

Project Linus

The weather outside gets a tad frightful this time of year. Project Linus helps children in need, such as those with an illness or who have experienced trauma, feel physically and emotionally warm by collecting handmade blankets. You and your family become “blanketeers.” The website has free patterns to choose from, and you and your children will pick out the materials together.

Work as a team to create quilts, comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted Afghans, or receiving blankets. You’ll want to ensure your blanket is washable, doesn’t have any pins, and is made in a smoke-free environment because of allergy concerns. When you’re done, simply drop it off at a local chapter.

Toys for Tots

You love seeing your children’s faces on Christmas morning. Sadly, not every child experiences that same joy. Toys for Tots, a charity headed up by the Marine Corps, is trying to change that by collecting toys for children whose caregivers cannot afford to purchase them. Talking to your children about how some kids don’t have the same good fortune fosters empathy and makes them grateful for what they have. Allowing them to help pick out a toy or two for another child empowers them to create change. Families donate online through a virtual toy box or a drop-off in their community.

Salvation Army Angel Tree

Salvation Army and Walmart are teaming up to play Santa to children and families in need. Work with your kids to find the perfect present for a child whose parents are in need of a Christmas miracle. You and your family will take on this project online or in a store. Find a store or shop online using Walmart’s Registry for Good. Have your children think about what another kid might love to find under a tree.

Trees for Troops

If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to Christmas charities, take a look at Trees for Troops. This holiday charity helps spread the joy of Christmas “one tree at a time” to military families.

One Simple Wish

Sort of like Angel Tree, One Simple Wish grants wishes to kids in foster care. You and your family can choose one of more wishes to grant by visiting the website. Some wishes are for fun others are for essentials like must-have clothing items.

Feeding America

Food insecurity continues to be a major problem in the U.S., with more than 30 million people, including children, struggling with having enough to eat. Christmas is the perfect time to volunteer as a family at a local food pantry or to fundraise in your community for Feeding America.

Meals on Wheels

Volunteering to deliver meals to seniors is another rewarding volunteer experience for the whole family. Seniors without family in the area will appreciate the visit along with the hot meal. Start volunteering with a local Meals on Wheels chapter this holiday season. You might just find it’s something the family will enjoy continuing all year long.

Baby in front of a Christmas tree
Tomsickova Tatyana / Shutterstock

Holiday cheer

Donating time, money, and items to Christmas charities during the holiday season is a way to spread goodwill and cheer. It’s also a gift to your own family. When you give back together, it helps children learn about empathy and kindness and helps them appreciate what they have. Volunteering together is also a bonding experience.

Charities come in all kinds of varieties at this time of year. Many focus on bringing gifts to kids who won’t otherwise have presents to open this holiday season. Others bring warmth, companionship, and food. There isn’t a lot of time during the holiday rush, but taking the time to give back this Christmas season is a gift that keeps giving all year long.

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BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
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