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15 Ways to Donate a Merry Christmas: Ideas for Giving and Volunteering

I believe in the importance of charity at Christmastime. I enjoy sharing ideas for giving to others over the holidays.

Give of your time and money this Christmas with these 15 ideas for donations and volunteering.

Give of your time and money this Christmas with these 15 ideas for donations and volunteering.

Give the Gift of Christmas on Any Budget

Christmas is the season for charitable giving. It's the time of year when we should all give a little to those who have less. For those who can afford it, there are endless opportunities to give someone a Merry Christmas. And for those already living on a shoestring budget, you'd be surprised at how much you can do.

For instance, if you meet the requirements, you could try hair donation. You've been wanting a new look anyway. Or how about making a trip to your local blood bank to donate blood? What better gift to give than the gift of life? (And that's coming from someone who is very grateful for the blood transfusion I received.)

So how about it? Are you ready to put a little Merry into someone's Christmas?

Donation and Volunteer Ideas for Christmas

  1. Help a Needy Family
  2. Visit Your Local Pediatric Wing
  3. Donate Your Hair
  4. Grant a Small Wish
  5. Visit Your Local Humane Society
  6. Make a Child's Dream Come True
  7. Give to Toys for Tots
  8. Donate to Bell Ringers and Bins
  9. Check With the Department of Social Services
  10. Visit a Nursing Home
  11. Collect Coke Caps
  12. Give Life: Donate Blood
  13. Participate in Operation Christmas Child
  14. Shop Local
  15. Give Away a Dollar
This amazing view was captured on Christmas Day in my home state of South Dakota by a very talented man named Jerry7171.

This amazing view was captured on Christmas Day in my home state of South Dakota by a very talented man named Jerry7171.

1. Help a Needy Family

When I was a kid, my Dad would take me to the homeless shelter every Christmas. We'd find a family that needed coats, and we would buy them the thickest, warmest coats we could find. At first, I didn't understand why these homeless children were getting coats better than mine. It took me a while to realize they would be wearing theirs a lot longer than I would.

If you don't have a homeless shelter, you could do the same thing for someone who's just down on their luck. Like that struggling single mom who lives next to your Aunt. Or that guy down the street who lost his job and is worried about his family. Think about how much a couple of weeks' worth of groceries would mean to them.

If you would like to help someone but you're worried they would refuse your charity or get upset, you could send them gifts anonymously. Or just send them a gift card anonymously and let them decide what they need the most.

You could visit your local pediatric wing.

You could visit your local pediatric wing.

2. Visit Your Local Pediatric Wing

My son was in the hospital for a long time when he was in kindergarten. One of the things that made it easier on me (and more bearable for him) was all the volunteers. They would stop by periodically just to tell a joke or just to say hi, or to give him a little toy. It always made the day seem that much brighter.

I can't even imagine being a child and having to spend Christmas in the hospital. My guess is that's when volunteers are needed the most.

Here are a couple of ideas for how you can make Christmas seem a little better for a sick child:

  • Create and deliver gift baskets full of stuffed animals, books and small toys.
  • Go in a couple of times a week and read to them as a group.
  • Help the not-as-sick kids put on a play for the little-bit-sicker kids.
  • Dress up as Santa on Christmas Eve and hand out toys to all the kids.
  • Update the pediatric library with books, board games and video games. They never have enough to go around.

3. Donate Your Hair

My Dad used to have gorgeous hair. He wore it long - past the middle of his back. I remember when I was growing up, I always thought it was so pretty and shiny. I never thought I'd see the day when he cut it. But five years ago, he took the plunge. Not only did he cut it, but he also decided not to tell anyone until after it was done!

I was really upset with him until I found out he gave his ponytail to Locks of Love. He just doesn't look the same without his ponytail. But because of him, a child suffering from alopecia areata can now walk around with gorgeous brown curls blowing around her face.

If you'd like to give a child the gift of hair, all you have to do is follow these guidelines:

  • Hair must be a minimum of 10 inches long
  • Hair must be tied in a ponytail or a braid before cutting.
  • Hair must be clean and dry before it's put in an envelope.
  • Colored, permed-out gray hair can be donated.

As long as you follow these guidelines, you can cut your hair off at home and mail it off yourself. Just place the ponytail or braid inside a plastic bag and then inside a padded envelope. If you would like to be acknowledged for your donation, write your name and e-mail address or mailing address on a separate full-size sheet of paper and place it in an envelope. Send it to:

Locks of Love

234 Southern Blvd.

West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701

It takes 3-6 haircuts just to make one wig. Think about donating the next time you get a big haircut.

4. Grant a Small Wish

Have you ever heard of The Wish Upon a Hero Foundation? It's a tax-exempt non-profit organization that works to support the online community of individuals who grant the needs and wants of others making a wish. They believe in three things:

  • No wish is too large.
  • No hero is too small.
  • Everyone can become a hero.

You can make a wish, you can grant a wish, or you can do both. If you'd like to grant a wish, I'm sure you'll find one within your budget. They vary from:

  • "Please send my son a greeting card to make him feel special" to
  • "Please help pay my water bill," and, of course
  • "Please send cash".

Right now, there are a bunch of parents wishing for their kids to have presents for Christmas. There are also a couple of people asking for warm clothes and a heater.

5. Visit Your Local Humane Society

One place that always has needs is the Humane Society. They take in so many animals, and most rely on donations to keep going. What I love about the Humane Society is that literally anyone can do their part to help. Money is their number 1 need, but there are so many other ways to donate. You can volunteer your time as little or as much as you want. You could also donate supplies. Blankets, food bowls, toys and collars are always in short supply.

Here's something to think about. If you or someone you know recently had a pet that passed, what about donating their leftover food and treats to the Humane Society? It's just one more way for your beloved pet to leave a special mark on this world.



6. Make a Child's Dream Come True

The Make-A-Wish Foundation was created in 1980 with a simple mission, that children of the past, present and future will have an opportunity to share the power of a wish. Today, almost 33 years and over 201,000 wishes later, that mission is still holding steady.

And do you know why?

Because of people like you and me. Volunteers. They have volunteer opportunities that span all interests and time commitments. Their donors range from individuals to some of the world's largest companies. Here are six ways you can help:

  • Donate money. Choose to give a one-time gift or become a monthly giver.
  • Volunteer your time and/or talents. They need committee members, event planners, translators, office help, professional services, public speakers and wish granters.
  • Donate Treasures. These are the commonly needed treasures
    • Building Materials, Computer Equipment, Hotel Loyalty Points, Hot Tubs/Spas and Shopping Sprees
    • Click here to see what urgent items are needed in your area.
  • Frequent Flier miles to help cover some of the estimated 2.5 billion miles flown each year.
  • Shop to Help in one of two ways
    • Buy and sell on eBay with the eBay Giving Works program to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
    • Shop for products with the Make-A-Wish logo and help grant wishes.
  • Adopt a Wish by funding the cost of a child's wish.

The foundation grants an average of 1 wish every 38 minutes, so there are endless opportunities for people like you and me to help out.

Make a child's dream come true.

Make a child's dream come true.

7. Give to Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is a not-for-profit public charity run by United States Marine Corps Reserve. Their goal is to "deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens." To date, they've delivered almost 500 million toys to needy children.

If you would like to donate some new unopened toys to Toys for Tots, just enter your state and county here and it will tell you where the closest drop off locations are.

Donate to bell rings and bins

Donate to bell rings and bins

8. Donate to Bell Ringers and Bins

We've all seen them. The Jolly old Santa's standing outside the store ringing their bells. Ok. So maybe it's a guy wearing jeans and a plaid shirt standing outside the store ringing the bell. What matters is that they're both ringing it for the same reason: The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is known worldwide for their charitable work. Their mission is to "perform evangelical, social and charitable work and bring the Christian message to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs." Which translates to: They feed the poor when no one else can! And really, those men stand out in the cold for hours ringing that bell. Don't you think they deserve that 63 cents the cashier just handed you? Heck, throw in a couple bills while you're at it. Whatever you do, don't just walk by and pretend you don't see them.

That goes for the toy donation bins you see in front of the stores every year too. A lot of people put it off saying they'll add to it next time they see it. Then the next time comes and they say the same thing. It's not like they're asking for a hundred dollar toy. Any new toy will do. Go get a $10 doll or or a $5 stuffed animal. And as you're putting it in the bin, just imagine how happy you're making some little girl or boy.

Check-in with the department of social services.

Check-in with the department of social services.

9. Check With the Department of Social Services

I know that not every DSS office does this, but it's worth finding out if yours does. Every year around Christmas, a lot of offices will put a tree in the lobby and decorate it with little cards. When you pick a card, you'll see the gender and age of a foster child that needs a Christmas present. Then you go buy an age/gender appropriate gift and deliver it to DSS unwrapped with the tree card attached to it. It's easy and it ensures that every foster child will have something waiting for them under the tree. And if you're really in the giving mood this year, you could go back again right before Christmas just to make sure there's no more cards left on the tree. Back home, I knew a social worker who would gather up all the leftover cards on December 23 and spend her own money making sure that every child got a present. Now that's dedication.

Another thing you can do at the Department of Social Services is to donate a Christmas dinner to a needy family. If you know of a family who can't afford a Christmas dinner, you can specify that it go to them. Otherwise, the social workers will find a family that needs it. And it's all anonymous so the needy family will never know who donated it. If, for some reason your DSS office doesn't do this, you can always go to a church and ask them to handle it. This is just a guess, but I can't imagine a church refusing to give free food to a needy family.

Visit a nursing home

Visit a nursing home

10. Visit a Nursing Home

I've been visiting nursing homes since I was a child. First, when I was 10, it was weekly visits to see the neighbors after they got too old to care for themselves. Then there were the monthly visits to see Granny Hayes when I was 12. At the age of 15, I started volunteering at one twice a week. It may not have been every ones cup of tea, but I enjoyed it.

All those old people want is someone to sit with them. They want to tell you stories about the good ol' days. They want to beat you at cribbage. They want to know how your day went. And they want you to listen to the latest nursing home gossip. For a lot of them, they have no one else.

So if you want to bring a lot of smiles to a lot of faces, just start going to the nursing home once a week. And if you really want to make them smile, bring your kids. Your children will instantly gain 20 grandparents and they're guaranteed to be doted on by every single one of them.

And as an added bonus, think of the lessons you'll be teaching your children by involving them.

11. Collect Coke Caps

Here's something anyone can do. Collect caps from coke branded products. Enter the codes at and then donate the points you receive to charity. They have many charities to choose from including:

  • Arctic Home
  • USO
  • Simon Youth Foundation
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund
  • Round It Up America
  • National WWII Museum

12. Give Life: Donate Blood

A blood donation is the perfect gift. It costs nothing but a little time. And the rewards are unbelievable. Just think about it. You giving up a half hour of your life to donate blood could potentially mean giving somebody years that they wouldn't have otherwise had.

If you've donated blood in the past but quit doing it because of how sick you felt afterward, you may want to try again. There's a relatively new process they can use called plasmapheresis. This process separates the plasma from the red blood cells as it's coming out. The plasma is collected for hospital and pharmaceutical use. The red blood cells, along with some saline are returned back to your body. Although this procedure takes a bit longer, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour longer than normal, it's worth it because you don't feel as bad afterward. In fact, I've been able to donate plasma and then get up and go right to work.

13. Participate in Operation Christmas Child

If you can afford to pack a shoebox full of toys, than this is the perfect charity for you. Just find a shoebox (or a small plastic box) and pack it with small toys, hygiene items, and hard candy. Then go to the Operation Christmas Child website and enter your zip code. It will show you the nearest drop off points. I figured since I live in such a small town (pop 5000) there wouldn't be any drop offs near me but I was wrong! I found 5!

While on the website, you can download a label to show if your shoebox is for a boy or girl, and the approximate age range for the toys. Once you drop off your box, the volunteers will make sure it's sent to children in over 100 countries.

They do ask that you donate $7 with each shoebox to cover shipping costs. The great thing is that if you pay that $7 online, you'll receive a special bar-code to print out and attach to the box so you can track it. You can actually find out where your shoebox went!

This years collection dates are from November 17-24. But you can send shoeboxes year round to their headquarters in Boone NC.

Operation Christmas Child

Samaritan's Purse

P.O. Box 3000

801 Bamboo Road

Boone, NC 28607

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered simple gift-filled shoe boxes to more than 69 million children. Each year, hundreds of thousands of caring people across the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe pack boxes with small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and candy for shipment overseas, where OCC partners hand deliver the boxes to needy boys and girls.

14. Shop Local

You're probably wondering how shopping local will make someone's Christmas merry. First, let me explain what I mean by local.

  • You know that mom-and-pop gas station on the corner that charges slightly higher prices then the bigger stations? They are local.
  • You know that little knick knack store downtown? You know...the one that has products made right there in your city. They're local.
  • How about that small beauty parlor. The one owned by those two girls you went to school with. They're also local.
  • Pretty much any store with your city or county name in it could be considered local.

Why should you shop there? Because Walmart, Kmart and Target have no fear of closing up shop. But those small local businesses do. Just imagine if you owned a small business that's already struggling in today's economy. Now it's Christmas and you have to worry about employee bonuses and buying presents for your family. Wouldn't a little extra business be just the thing you need to soothe your worries?

So shop local and you could make someones Christmas a whole lot merrier!

15. Give Away a Dollar

This is an easy way to bring someone some holiday cheer. Just hide a dollar somewhere for someone to find. When I think about it, the possibilities are endless. Just off the top of my head, here are some great hiding spots:

  • Pick a shirt at a clothing store and stick a dollar in the pocket.
  • Put 4 quarters in the change slot of a soda machine.
  • Hide a dollar between a couple cans of baby formula at the grocery store.
  • Drop a dollar on the floor somewhere.
  • Put 4 quarters in the slot of the change machine at a car wash.
  • Behind a couple napkins in the napkin dispenser.

Stories of Giving and Receiving—Feel Free to Add Yours!

Some people don't realize that even the smallest gesture can change someone's life. They think only the "big" gifts count. But it's just not true. And I'd like your help to prove it.

  • Have you ever been the recipient of someones giving nature? Tell us your story.
  • Have you ever helped someone who really needed it? Tell us your story.

If you would just like to make a general comment, please use the guestbook a little further down.

Heartwarming Stories of Giving and Recieving


I have been able to bless others throughout the year. Hopefully I bless someone each day, even if it is only a word of encouragement. - favored

It isn't an unusual thing for me to come home and have something left on my porch. I have been blessed this season with a turkey for my husband and lots of fruit for me. God has given me good neighbors. - favored

Terrific ideas. I love them. I'll have to look into this new blood donation idea. After my 25th donation they gave me a blood donor's tie and asked me to not come again because I kept passing out :-) - Doc_Holliday

My husband and I received a gift card to a grocery store last year just before Christmas to help buy groceries. Anonymous! - dawnsnewbeginning

I visited this back before Christmas...and Squidliked and blessed it. I think I didn't comment because I was so struck by the different ways to help other people....or maybe I was a bit ashamed that I haven't done more. I've crocheted blankets and caps for newborns, I've donated clothing, and I've actually paid one lady's month's rent when I was still working. Recently, my resources have become limited...but I have donated to the American Lung Association, to the ASPCA, to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and to a couple of veteran's organizations; The Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled American Veterans. I ask for little myself, because there is nothing I need at present. - Nancy Hardin

A couple of months ago, I had a really bad morning so I was in a sour mood. I went to the grocery store to buy one thing and when I got to the checkout, there was a long line of full carts. I got in line and was preparing myself for the 45 minute wait, when the lady in front of me told me to go ahead. Then the lady in front of her said the same thing. Every single person in line let me cut in front of them and the person in front even gave me a coupon for what I was buying. My bad mood was gone instantly and I've paid back the favor many times since. - Othercatt

I found a group on Facebook called Couponing for the needy. It's a great group and we have been able to help many families that other places that weren't able to help for the holidays. The great thing about this group, the goal is to help the needy with food and household items throughout the year. - anonymous


I enjoy donate blood and visit the kids in orphan house and give them some money.At least It helps bring happiness to them :) - niceman91 lm


It is always a joy to give. You never know how giving will help another person, even when they appear to need anything. Love, time and giving yourself, the most precious gift one can give. - anonymous


ecause of your article, I found a great place to donate bags of toys my daughter never used thanks - audreannaga


I do enjoy the give away a dollar a day tradition ! - Joan4


All comments are moderated.

© 2010 Othercatt

How are you going to help someone have a Merry Christmas this year?

Shawna Arvel on December 21, 2018:

Wow, so many ways to make someone’s Christmas better that I had never even thought of! This holiday season, I was going to donate clothes to local charities and my kid’s old Lego sets to but now I’m also thinking of donating blood and giving the local old age home a visit! Thanks for the ideas.

Maria Jackson on January 31, 2018:

Good to read!

jimmy on December 09, 2017:

this is best way to celebrate the Christmas all the time,

there are lots of underprivileged people around us, if we cant feed 100 just feed or help one,(mother tresa) the real joy , happiness and satisfaction is not there in receiving but giving.

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on December 16, 2013:

Thank you so much for these fantastic suggestions for sharing the love during the holidays and throughout the year with strangers as well as friends and family. This is a beautiful article that I have bookmarked for future reference.

poutine on April 13, 2013:

I really like the idea of hiding a dollar for someone to find it. Here in Canada, it's fun as we have the "Loonie" which is a metal dollar, we do not have $1.00 bill in paper anymore.

We also got rid of the penny.

Kristen from Boston on December 30, 2012:

Christmas may have passed for this year, but most of your great ideas are perfect for year round giving. If you're fortunate enough to get a year end bonus, or maybe a tax refund, giving to one I these great causes is so matter what time of year.

Rosyel Sawali from Manila Philippines on December 24, 2012:

What an awesome lens! Your message is timeless and inspiring! ^_^ Merry Christmas!

victoriuh on December 23, 2012:

Great ideas here! Blessed.

AlleyCatLane on December 23, 2012:

I think I blessed this last year but it isn't showing up, so here's another blessing. All great ideas.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 22, 2012:

I got a few packs of Stollen in a five-star hotel here in Hanoi and gave it to some staff here in the hotel as most of them have not even heard of it.

DebMartin on December 21, 2012:

I love the idea of hiding a dollar for someone to find it. Back to Bless. Happy Holidays. d

Fay Favored from USA on December 20, 2012:

We gave a college student a party because she just graduated last week and had no family here.

MatCauthon on November 29, 2012:

Bless you for spreading the Christmas spirit...

dawnsnewbeginning on November 23, 2012:

Help someone with groceries

Frischy from Kentucky, USA on February 12, 2012:

I am glad I stopped by this lens again. I have been trying to think of some social activities for my teenager who is bored on weekends. I had not thought about volunteering as a nursing home visitor, but it would be a perfect fit. There is a place right around the corner from us. Cat, you are a genius!

grannysage on February 12, 2012:

I just cut 18 inches off my hair. I wish I had thought to donate it. As a former nursing home social worker, I'd like to note that residents get lots of visits at Christmas, but very few during the rest of the year. Many people have family but there are those who have no one. Ask at your local nursing home if there is an elder without family you can adopt and visit them throughout the year.

Jethro from Philippines on February 03, 2012:

I read this despite the current date because I enjoyed reading this. I will do charitable works from now on. Nice lens! :)

anonymous on December 31, 2011:

I keep finding your great lens tonight! this one is another good one too.

anonymous on December 25, 2011:

Thank you for this lovely, inspiring lens. Merry Christmas!

Sandra Wilson from Wilson Education Resource Centre on December 25, 2011:

This lens is full of wonderful ideas for Christmas, and all year. Thanks for combining so many give back ideas in one great lens!

boutiqueshops on December 24, 2011:

I love what you've done here; thank you for making such an important page & sharing it. Blessed by a squid angel.

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on December 24, 2011:

This is a truly beautiful lens. If it didn't already have a Purple Star, I would nominate it for one.

darciefrench lm on December 24, 2011:

I love your story about the grocery line up - sometimes when I feel bad, just going out into the world and smiling, or doing something nice for another is an instant perk. Thanks for this lovely lens in the spirit of Christmas giving. Happy holidays to you and yours, may the new year bring the best of the best.

niceman91 lm on December 23, 2011:

I love this lens so much since you give many great idea how to bring some happiness to other in a small and big way during this christmas.

suneclipsea on December 23, 2011:

Awesome ideas

ethical-gifts from Australia on December 22, 2011:

Lovely ideas- kindness at Christmas : )

anonymous on December 21, 2011:

Wonderful lens.

revenue4u on December 21, 2011:

Great lens. Squid liked. I plan to invite several people to share Xmas dinner at our house.

jadehorseshoe on December 21, 2011:

Perfect Lens.

kotagedejualan on December 21, 2011:

Great lens,,

Thank You..

kotagedejualan on December 21, 2011:

Great lens,,

Thank You..

macharia-kairi on December 21, 2011:

nice work

audreannaga on December 21, 2011:

fabulous lense great work

dolphinstar lm on December 21, 2011:

What a great lens. There is so much taking in this world so it is good to give to someone less fortunate

bossy gal on December 21, 2011:

First of all congratulations on getting a purple star.

I will donate toys and blood to the needy people and I also have a piggy bank in which my all family puts money in it, I don't know how much amount is collected but I 'll hand it over to the needy person soon:).

Lilly-n-Lloyd on December 20, 2011:

Make a wish foundation is a popular charity of ours and I'm glad you mentioned it in your lens.

Joan4 on December 20, 2011:

Congratulations on that beautiful purple star!

Chazz from New York on December 20, 2011:

Thank you for spreading the word and exemplifying what the holiday season is really about. Blessings.

PastorSam LM on December 20, 2011:

Very Nice Lens. Giving is a wonderful thing.


Mamaboo LM on December 19, 2011:

We donated to Angel Star and It was delieveted today

SilvaraWilde on December 19, 2011:

Every year I go to the local mall and find a "Wish Tree". They have cards on them with the names of kids from local homeless shelters and other similar agencies, as well as the ages and what the child likes or needs. If I have the money to spare, I pick up more than one of the cards and get them something on the likes list. Most years I can only afford one card, but I like being able to get them something they want as well as need.

scoobydeb lm on December 19, 2011:

We are helping families have a Christmas dinner through our local human concerns! Merry Christmas Everyone!!

anonymous on December 19, 2011:


Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on December 19, 2011:

Great ideas. These are all doable on any budget.

SiochainGraSonas on December 19, 2011:

A beautiful and well thought out Christmas lens. Thank you!

nyclittleitaly on December 18, 2011:

A very thought provoking lens. Good job. Thanks.

Lisa Morris on December 18, 2011:

A truly wonderful Christmas lens, you have been blessed. Wonderful job.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

renstar lm on December 17, 2011:

great lens

anonymous on December 17, 2011:

Super lens. I love that you kept the giving simple. The suggestions given were ideas that can easily be found in our communities or as close as next door.

LiliLove on December 16, 2011:

Amazing lens! Thanks for sharing some great ideas! Happy holidays :)!

AlleyCatLane on December 16, 2011:

Wonderful suggestions. Thanks for putting all this information in one lens. I sent it to FB and Google+, and blessed it! Also nominating it for an LOTD.

Diane Ellen on December 15, 2011:

You have some great ideas. Christmas should be all about giving. It is a blessing to give!

tnsurge on December 15, 2011:

Great suggestions. It doesn't have to cost to spread joy

iPadGeek on December 14, 2011:

Super Lens!!! Congratulations :)

Nicole from Bethel, CT on December 14, 2011:

Amazing lens!!!

openlook3 on December 14, 2011:

Your ideas are wonderful. Things we take for granted you showed us how to use them in a way that is a blessing to others. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Edutopia on December 14, 2011:

This year even more people would benefit from generous holiday giving so any amount that anyone can give will go a long way this year to helping many of us who have fallen on hard times.

squid-pinkchic18 on December 14, 2011:

Wonderful lens! Here I went and nominated this for LOTD on Christmas and what do I see in the comments, that it's already LOTD today! I guess it was destined for greatness :) Great job here, you have some awesome ideas for helping others this holiday season.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on December 14, 2011:

We've been truly blessed this year and have shared Christmas blessings in several different ways in the community, including choosing an angel off the Angel Tree in our mall. It was fun to shop for a little girl (we're used to shopping for boys) and can just picture her face when she really does get to have a Christmas this year. Great lens, great suggestions! Congratulations on your Lens of the Day!

anonymous on December 13, 2011:

I like the spirit behind this lens, as a support worker I work with people that are a lot less fortunate than most. Your ideas are great and I also liked what Cynthia below has said as well, what is a dollar really, I am glad we have retailers where I live that collect gifts under their in-store Christmas trees, every year we always purchase a gift for those stores and the great thing about it is the the gifts really do go to the right people. As far as my work goes we have a Secret Santa and every staff member buys a little gift, and these gifts are given to our clients. I can imagine all the difference it would make if every body donated a $1, what does it buy anyway, but collectively it would do a lot of good.

anonymous on December 13, 2011:

Great lens! I usually donate to my favorite charities. I've written a lens on my favorite charities to give to this season and I've entered your lens on my Featured Lens module since it's a topic I feel strongly about. Thanks for sharing your donation ideas!

CynthiaJacob on December 13, 2011:

I've signed up at Click to Donate for starters, next I am going to gift $1 and I will create a lens for amputees. GIVING BACK ROCKS!!!

fullofshoes on December 13, 2011:

Indeed... Toys for Tots is always a favorite. Wonderful lens.

Chocolate Pickney from Jamaica on December 13, 2011:

You deserve to have this as lens of the month. Wonderful lens

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on December 13, 2011:

These are great ideas. Congratulations on LotD!

cwstocks lm on December 13, 2011:

What a great lens! I think it truly embodies the spirit of Christmas. Thank you.

DebMartin on December 13, 2011:

What a huge heart you have. I love the story about your Dad and his hair. This time of year I give blood in December, I give time to the adult care facility and the Humane Society gets some gifts from me. And my limited shopping is always local. You've inspired me to step it up a notch. Thanks.

pacrapacma lm on December 13, 2011:

We'll give to the animal shelter this year. We got a kitten there last Christmas eve day. We'll buy a present for that. I like the idea of sending an anonymous gift card to someone we know who is struggling financially. Last year instead of buying toys for toys for tots we bought toys for my mom to give to two boys that live in a rental property that my mom owns. My mom has a kind heart and has passed it on. We've helped this family over the years. I gave them books to help get the boys started in reading. The books and time their mom spent reading with them paid off. Both boys are great readers.

Your lens deserves the LOTD. I hope you make money from people buying things from this lens. You are making a difference in the world with the ideas you share in this lens. If everyone who reads this does one idea, Christmas will be merrier for many. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on December 13, 2011:

Excellent! Well deserved LotD. Blessed

anonymous on December 13, 2011:

This is a great lens telling an important story. Congratulations on the Purple Star and LOTD.

Julia Morais on December 12, 2011:

Your lens deserves the LOTD. Congratulations.

bluewren56 lm on December 12, 2011:

There are so many ways that we can do a little "something" to make a difference for someone else. There is always something that each of us can do, and together we can make a difference. Love the lens. Congrats on LOTD!

KimGiancaterino on December 12, 2011:

Wonderful ideas ... congratulations on LOTD.

KevinGeetar on December 12, 2011:

A lovely way to share the holiday spirit. Thank you for an inspiring lens, Kev

anonymous on December 12, 2011:

Great ways to do community improvement!

GabStar on December 12, 2011:

We sponsored a new child through world vision this Christmas to make someone in another countries future a bit brighter.

Awesome lens, well set out

LasgalenArts on December 12, 2011:

It's a proven fact it is donations of time and money from ordinary folks like us give more to those in need than large corporations. We also donate to Toys for Tots, gift baskets to the elderly, food to food banks, holiday cards to troops overseas and more. Great lens. Good inspiration for all.

Nspired2 on December 12, 2011:

This lens is AMAZING! WOW & THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR HEART! Congratulations on a well deserved LotD...outstanding!

BuddyBink on December 12, 2011:

You have made it very easy to make someone's Christmas. Thank You

Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on December 12, 2011:

You so darn well earned an LOTD on this lens, it's beautiful and straight from the heart.

I do already a lot of things mentioned, though a lot of things are done quite differently in my country. I never heard about the donate your hair, if I had, I could have send them my hair a lot of times, because when my braids start hanging in my dinner, I cut them off. My hair is growing rather fast. So next time I'll send it to Florida.

fugeecat lm on December 12, 2011:

I plan on donating time to a friend who nexts some extra help in life. If your looking for another great charity chemoangels is fantastic. Look it up under

lasertek lm on December 12, 2011:

My family and I usually take part in our Church's activities during the Christmas season.

DesignedbyLisa LM on December 12, 2011:

Congrats on the LOTD! Some great ideas here. I have forgotten about the click to help charities.

quicpost on December 12, 2011:

Hi: already do the clicking to donate at and from the United Nations. I also about American Red Cross and other community service announcements when I've the time to them. Thanks for your inspirational article. Have you heard of They too do a lot like you and I other writers found different ways to help America and the world's communities. Thanks again and Happy Holiday!

Chocolate Pickney from Jamaica on December 12, 2011:

By the way congrats on being the lens of the day

Chocolate Pickney from Jamaica on December 12, 2011:

Great lens, my heart melts

anonymous on December 12, 2011:

Great lens! I'll donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters, I usually donate clothes, books, shoes.

NightMagic on December 12, 2011:

You have some good ideas. My favorite is visiting a Nursing Home. You wouldn't believe the number of people living there that don't have anyone that comes to visit them. It's really sad especially at Christmas. It's a good way to put a smile on someones face.

MCB2011 on December 12, 2011:

I love the idea of visiting the pediatric wards and nursing homes. I would add hospitals and hospice for the dying. Many really just need a visit. I really like the suggestion of looking for opportunities, they are all over!

maraju lm on December 12, 2011:

Congratulations pleased to see you included the salvation army who work endlessly throughout all the year but at christmas they need extra to enable less fortunate people have a better christmas. I am always happy to donate to them knowing their good work, Happy christmas t everyone.

JimH on December 12, 2011:

Terrific ideas, Christmas is a tough time for many and if you have a little extra in time or money then try to help if you can.

toldyaso lm on December 12, 2011:

Great lens! Around this time of year, people get so caught up in the Christmas commotion, they forget about those less fortunate. Thank you for mentioning the humane society. Animals can really suffer and should not be forgotten! It would be nice if you could mention a way to support our troops during the holiday - they deserve something, too. :)

darciefrench lm on December 12, 2011:

We have a homeless friend on a block corner near our apartment. We like to buy him cheeseburgers and chat with him while he eats. Our daughter can't walk past him without giving him some change and I love that, he inspires her to freely give up candy money. He always dresses nice for work (panhandling), he shaves, he's very pleasant. Nobody minds him claiming the corner with his "help a needy man" sign - he gives back with personal willingness, positivity and a shared joy. He has improved my Christmas this year ten fold :)

lilymom24 on December 12, 2011:

What a wonderful lens with great ideas on how to help others. We bought a few toys the other day to put in the donation bin at our local hardware store and will be picking up a few more things for our kids to be donating through their school. One is a new toy or two for the toy drive and the other is supplies for the local animal shelter. Congratulations on a well deserved LotD! =)

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on December 12, 2011:

I love the idea of stashing a dollar somewhere. And if you tape a little note on it that says, "Merry Christmas, whoever-you-are", or something like that, then the recipient won't be worrying about whether they're "stealing" someone's lost cash.

norma-holt on December 12, 2011:

My thing is to give when possible at any time of year. Great lens and congrats on LOTD. Now featured on Squidoo LOTD Lenses. Hugs

Carolan Ross from St. Louis, MO on December 12, 2011:

Absolutely wonderful lens from beginning to end, what a generous gesture in donating a Merry Christmas!

Bill from Gold Coast, Australia on December 12, 2011:

Well done with this Lens, it is a well deserved LOTD and a fantastic message to get out there. The true spirit of Christmas is giving, which seems to have become a little lost in recent years. Thankfully it is still alive in people like you. Blessed :-)

totalhealth on December 12, 2011:

share your blessings and share love this christmas, no matter how small your gifts are it may be very valuable to those who receive it.

Ann Hinds from So Cal on December 12, 2011:

Lots of great suggestions. We just did Operation Christmas Child. It was fun for our homeschooling kids and they were happy to be part of the process.