We all know that Christmas is a time for giving. Whatever your religious beliefs, if you celebrate Christmas at all it is as a time of goodwill to others, of families coming together, and of hope for the future. That’s why Christmas is a great time to give to charity. All charities make a big push for donations at that time of year, and if you have one or more close to your heart then this is an ideal time to show them your support. But if you want to donate during the festive season but aren’t sure where to put your money, then here are a few ideas for charities that are particularly appropriate choices for Christmas giving.
Alternative Gifts International
The great thing about supporting this charity at Christmas is that it lets you gift to those in need on behalf of your friends or family. So you’ll be showing them you care while actually putting your money towards a good cause rather than buying them something they don’t need for the sake of it. Browse their “Gifts Inspiring Change” catalog and select an option that appeals to you and meets your budget, from buying a book for a child in poverty to donating a well to a desert village. Alternative Gifts International works with carefully selected agencies to support a wide range of humanitarian and environmental causes.
Founded in 1982, this charity supports children with one or more parents incarcerated in US prisons. A program of the Prison Fellowship, Angel Tree works with local churches to give gifts to the children of prisoners on the incarcerated parent’s behalf, as part of a wider program of outreach support intended to put these children on a better path in life. This includes mentoring, sports programs and camping trips as well as Christmas gift-giving.
This non-profit foundation, founded by Karen and Charles Phillips, supports injured veterans, engineering students and single parents in a variety of ways, and not just at Christmas. Charles Philips is a successful businessman and CEO of tech multinational Infor, who decided he wanted to give something back to the communities he came from. A military veteran and engineering graduate himself, Philips is also very aware of the struggle single parents and their children face, especially at Christmas when it can be very hard to provide the kind of family celebration others take for granted.
Child’s Play is a video games industry charity that donates games, toys, books and other items to the children’s wards of American hospitals. They also collect cash donations to purchase other items that hospitals need. Donors can look up the hospital of their choice via an interactive map on the charity’s website and can see that hospital’s wish list of items it needs. They also work closely with children in domestic violence shelters and advocacy centers.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has helped over 315,000 critically ill children achieve their wishes since it was founded in 1982. Your donation can give the gift of a moment of happiness to a child that will miss out on so much through having their life cut short. Thanks to Make-A-Wish, at least one of their dreams can come true.
Toys For Tots
One of the longest-running charities on this list, Toys For Tots was established by members of the US Marine Corps in Los Angeles in 1947. It’s now a nationwide program with the official support of the Marine Corps that aims to help children from deprived families enjoy Christmas while bringing communities together in its annual toy collection and distribution drive. These are locally coordinated, so it’s easy to get involved in your hometown, or to make a donation at any point throughout the year.
Trees For Troops
As the name suggests, Trees For Troops provides farm-grown Christmas trees to American military families free of charge, both at home and abroad. It’s the flagship program of the Christmas Spirit Foundation, a charity that has also provided college scholarships, disaster relief, recycling programs and teacher support. If you want to give the gift of Christmas to those brave men and women serving our country then this charity offers an easy way to help.
Of course there are many other charities that would benefit from your support at Christmas, national, international and local. Helping those less fortunate than yourself enjoy Christmas is a worthwhile cause and giving on behalf of friends and family is a way to let them know you’re thinking of them while giving to a cause you know they’d want to support. We hope that this brief article gives you a few ideas for where you’d like to put your money to good work next Christmas, or indeed all year round.