Christmas is especially meaningful for children ~ that’s why every child should have a few presents on Christmas morning. In our ongoing efforts to provide sources of free and low-cost toys and gifts to our readers who need a little help in stretching their Christmas dollars during this very difficult year, here are a few suggestions:
- The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots program just might be the granddaddy of all toys for kids charities: request a toy from Toys For Tots. Use the drop-down menu to select your state. All requests for toys must be made through your local campaign office.
- Contact your local Christian church and ask if they have any kind of a Christmas gifts for kids programs and what you need to do to signup your kids.
- “The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program provides new clothing and/or toys for children. A sponsoring company or corporation places a Christmas tree in a secure, high-pedestrian traffic area or lobby. The tree is decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child who will receive the gift. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children described on the tags. The toys are then delivered to the unit and later picked up by the parent to distribute to the child/children on Christmas Day.” Contact your local Salvation Army for details on how to signup your kids (I couldn’t find any way to signup on their website). If you’re able, please pick up a tag and buy a Christmas gift for a needy child when you see an Angel Tree at your local retail store.
- If you or your spouse is in prison, contact Chuck Colsen’s Prison Fellowship Ministries to provide your child with Christmas gifts through their Angel Tree Project “…a ministry that reaches out to the children of inmates and their families with the love of Christ. It seeks to transform the lives of these families and to reconcile them to their Heavenly Father and each other. In Matthew 18:5 Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” There are children right in your community who are among the most at-risk children in the nation. Angel Tree provides an opportunity to connect with those families and begin ministering to them at Christmas and then continue through a variety of year-round ministry opportunities.”
Here are a few online suggestions:
- Print off beautifully drawn folding paper toys that you can make yourself from the workshop of Marilyn Scott-Waters. Her site contains printable cutouts that you fold and tape or glue together. There are also several children’s picture books that you can read online.
- Here are 101 ideas for making your own Christmas gifts.
- Here are a couple of free, online Tic-Tac Toe games: in this one, you’re an Elf playing against the Grinch. Play against another player in this Elf versus Santa version.
- Lots of free online Christmas games can be found here, and here.
- Click on my Movies category for good movies you and your kids can watch online for free.