Hopefully, you were inspired by the wallet friendly gift ideas in part one of my gift guide. Part two is going to be a little different. This is a gift guide for strangers. Yes, strangers. I love volunteering and am a supporter of giving back during all seasons, but there is just something about giving back during the holiday season (whether you celebrate Christmas or not) that brings cheer. So today’s gift guide will outline a few ways that you can “be an elf” to those who need a little help.
Be An Elf
Every year, the US Postal Service kicks off Operation Santa which gives you an the ability to adopt a letter or donate online to send gifts to needy children who write to Santa Claus. Now there are only 15 branches nationwide that offer Operation Santa. You can find the locations of participating USPS Post Office here. I was really bummed that Atlanta wasn’t on the list. The program kicks off the first week of December and each branch has a different deadline for adopting letters and dropping your gifts off. Here’s an example of a real letter:
Other Ways to Be An Elf
- Call a local children’s group home in your city and see if there are any items you can donate. Perhaps, you can sponsor a toy drive for them. Also, check with your local homeless shelters for additional opportunities to volunteer or donate items.
- As a fur mama, I have to add help needy animals to this list. Feel free to collect food, bedding, toys, and treats for your local shelter.
- Toys for Tots is always a great option.
- Anonymously pay off a layaway account at K-Mart or Walmart.
- The Salvation Army has the Angel Tree program which delivers gifts to children in the name of an incarcerated parent.
- Serve cookies at an assisted-living facility for the elderly.
- You can donate scraps of material and make blankets for Project Linus (projectlinus.org). The organization then donates them to seriously ill children in hospitals, social-service agencies, and shelters.
- If you’re unable to donate money to any charities, consider donating blood to the American Red Cross or simply volunteering your time.
Do you know of any other ways to be an elf? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.