Most of us hit a point in life where we realize that gift-giving alone only scratches the surface of what the holidays are all about.
If you’re hitting that point this year, here are a few ideas to get you started on a gift-free Christmas tradition that will help others in need:
1. Buy a gift for overseas families in need from the World Vision gift catalog.
You can buy tangible gifts like “feed two hungry families” for $120. Or “buy baby chicks for a family” for $20.
You can even purchase items like jewelry, coasters and more, handmade by global communities.
Check out the World Vision gift catalog to choose a gift.
2. Sponsor a child through Compassion International.
For $38 per month, you can sponsor a child — paying for their education and health needs.
This comes to $456 per year, which is about half the amount Americans spend on Christmas gifts each year, on average.
And that number grows every year, according to a 2017 study by the National Retail Federation.
3. Buy toys during Black Friday and donate them to Toys for Tots.
You can donate any type of toy for children — the best rule of thumb is to buy gifts your own children would like.
Follow KCL’s Black Friday Deals page to find out how to get toys for up to 60% off.
Avoid donating food or toy weapons — Toys for Tots won’t distribute those. Toys for Tots drop-off locations are all over and can be anything from a car dealership to a housekeeping service’s office.
4. Donate items from your stockpile to local charities like The KCL Foundation.
Find a local charity that is looking for donations along the lines of what’s sitting in your very own couponing stockpile.
The KCL Foundation supports local Boise refugees — we are certain your stockpile can help your local community!
Items like laundry detergent, toilet paper, toothpaste and more are always needed. Also, look for stock-up deals on items like children’s shoes, coats and more — then donate them to those local organizations during the holiday season.
5. Sponsor a low-income child through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
The Salvation Army runs an Angel Tree program every year where you can select a gift to buy for an “angel” or child in need.
Every year, The Salvation Army supplies up to 1 million children with toys and clothing they otherwise would not have at Christmastime.
You can donate online or look for Angel Trees in your city at the mall.
6. Donate money toward a child’s chemo treatment through St. Jude.
There are a few ways you can help families dealing with childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Look through the St. Jude’s Holiday Catalog, and either order items for sale — all proceeds go directly to the families and children in need —
Or. . . donate money directly toward things like chemo treatments, part of one day’s worth of oxygen, a red wagon (used to transport children in the hospital), and more.
7. Give money to a charity — and use Charity Navigator to choose an honest one.
I’m just gonna say it — not all charities are created equal. The fact is that some give precious little of the money they receive to those in need.
If you’d like to give a cash gift to a charity this Christmas, use Charity Navigator to decide which charity fits your criteria and aligns with your convictions.
You’ll find out what charities do with their money and get tips for donating.
8. Offer to walk dogs at your local animal shelter on Christmas Day.
This one depends completely on your local animal shelter, but there are some that take dog-walking volunteers on Christmas Day and give their regular dog walkers the day off.
So, you’re essentially giving someone else the gift of Christmas Day, while loving on homeless animals. Win/win.
9. Serve a meal at your local rescue mission on Christmas Day.
Many local homeless shelters and rescue missions welcome volunteers willing to work on hard-to-fill holidays like Christmas Day.
This is a great way to expand your children’s view of life and the meaning of service.
10. Visit nursing home residents who are alone on Christmas Day.
Nobody should be alone on Christmas, and children especially are a complete delight to elderly people.
You can arrange to go caroling at a nursing home, which basically means you stand and sing Christmas songs to a room of residents.
Or just ask the home which residents don’t get visitors, and plan to bring them Christmas cards and visit for a bit.