6 ways to put presents under the tree when money is tight

Little child holding hands with parents and looking at holiday window display.

Image source: Getty Images

If your family is struggling financially this year, you don’t have to skip the holidays.

Key points

  • If your family is going through a tough time financially, you may be feeling stressed about the upcoming holiday season.
  • Programs like Toys for Tots, USPS Operation Santa, and Santa’s Little Helpers could make it easier to put presents under the tree.

This year has been difficult for many people. If you are struggling financially, know that you are not alone. It can be hard to feel the joy of the season when you’re facing financial hardship. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to make the holidays special for your kids because your bank balance is low, there are resources you can take advantage of. Keep reading to find out how to get help putting presents under the tree when money is tight.

1. Marine Toys for Tots

The Marine Toys for Toys program spreads joy during the holidays. The organization accepts unwrapped toys as donations and distributes them to children and families who need extra holiday cheer. You can contact your local Marine Toys for Toys campaign for help.

2. USPS Operation Santa

The USPS has been helping make holiday wishes come true for more than 100 years. Through the Operation Santa program, volunteers can adopt a child or family and help them fulfill their holiday wish lists. Children and families who need extra help can write letters to Santa with their wish list items. Be sure to send your letter soon, as letters must be postmarked by December 12th.

3. United Way

United Way helps its vulnerable neighbors in many ways. This includes providing shelter, safety and food in times of crisis and taking action that addresses social and educational disparities. United Way provides meals and gifts to families in need during the holidays. If you need help with a gift, you can contact your local United Way chapter.

4. Santa’s little helpers

Santa’s Little Helpers is an online community on Reddit that calls itself “the happiest place on Reddit.” Those who need help making the magic happen during the holidays can register and set up a wish list, and Santa’s helpers volunteer to make wishes come true. Interested families must apply by December 10th. Once you’ve registered, you can set up a wish list to request help.

5. Boys and Girls Clubs of America

Boys & Girls Clubs of America is dedicated to helping children succeed. The organization provides a safe place for children to learn and grow and gives them access to excellent mentors. During the holiday season, the organization collects donations through toy drives. Families can contact their local club to see if toys are available.

6. Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront supports veterans, wounded and active duty military members and their families. One of the ways the organization makes a difference during the holidays is by collecting toys across the country. Military families can register through their local distribution center to receive gifts. This organization also provides holiday meals.

Don’t forget to see what resources are available in your community. Community centers, schools, churches, food banks, and other places that offer community support may have toys available. If not, they may be able to help you with other financial needs — like paying your utility bills and putting food on the table.

If your personal financial situation is not ideal, do not hesitate to ask for help. Resources like the ones above can help you navigate a challenging time in your life. Remember that your current situation does not have to be your reality forever. Focus on getting through your current struggles one day at a time.

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