Top 6 Charities That Help Children at Christmas Time

adult handing a toy to a child

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto 

Teach your children the value of giving to others during the holiday season by donating to a charity that provides gifts for needy children. Your kids may enjoy selecting presents for other children who are the same age as them. Choose from a variety of national charities or look for a local organization that's providing Christmas cheer to families in your area.

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    Toys for Tots

    Run by the U.S. Marine Corp, Toys for Tots has been collecting new, unwrapped toys and distributing them to less-fortunate children since 1947. There are a number of ways to support Toys for Tots' mission, including purchasing a toy and donating it at a local toy drop location, shopping for a toy to donate via the Toys for Tots website, or donating money online. The toys typically go to children age 12 and younger, though some communities may provide gifts for up to age 16.

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    Operation Christmas Child

    Great things come in small packages and make their way into the hands of children all over the world. In this case, the package is a shoebox. A program run by Christian organization Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child that takes a collection of shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, apparel, candy, and a personal note. Select a child's age group and fill the box with items consistent for that age group. A small donation is required to cover shipping costs. If you donate online, you will receive a special label for your shoebox so you can track your box's journey to its final destination.

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    Make-A-Wish Foundation

    The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps children throughout the year, but it also partners with companies to raise money specifically during the holiday season. If you drop off a letter to Santa at any Macy's location, the store will donate $1 per letter to Make-A-Wish. You can also help raise money for Make-A-Wish by browsing the list of current promotions. If you see something that catches your eye, use the link to shop and the partnered company will donate to Make-A-Wish when you make a purchase.

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    Prison Fellowship Angel Tree

    The Christian charity Prison Fellowship Organization offers an Angel Tree program that help children who have at least one parent in prison. Through the program, volunteers deliver a gift and a message from both the Gospel and the child's incarcerated parent. Each family also gets an English or Spanish Bible.

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    Salvation Army Angel Tree

    The Salvation Army also has an Angel Tree program in collaboration with Walmart. The stores have Christmas trees that have tags on them. Each tag has a wishlist of a specific child. Donors pick an angel tag, shop for gifts (not necessarily at Walmart), and drops of the gifts for the Salvation Army to distribute.

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    Operation Christmas Spirit

    Help out children in a military family through Operation Christmas Spirit. Donors can "adopt" a military family and provide gifts or gift cards. You can also opt to donate money online and allow volunteers to do the shopping for you. The program also allows donors to "adopt" a service member who are not married.