Many families have needs throughout the year, but the needs can seem even larger during the Christmas season. Consider giving back to members of your community this year by putting together a gift basket. If there are children in the family, be sure to give a few gifts that they can open Christmas morning.
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Many needy families would welcome a gift of food. Put together a large basket of Christmas-type food so they can have something extra-special on Christmas Day. A ham, cans of yams, the ingredients for a green bean casserole and a frozen pie will go a long way toward making a special meal. Include other foods so the family will have food to use and eat after the holidays. Do not purchase food that is different or taste-specific; you don't want the food to go to waste if they do not like it.
Put together a basket of basic necessities that the people will need. Laundry detergent, dishwasher soap or even toilet paper are not glamorous or exciting, but they can be very welcome to a family that must stretch their pennies to afford even these items. Be sure to include a few more frivolous items, such as a scented candle or room spray.
Put together a basket with articles of clothing for each member of the family. Find out their sizes and purchase at least a shirt for each person. Children can be easier to purchase for, as their clothing isn't typically as fitted as a teen's or adult's. Coats and winter wear work well if you live in a cold climate; even warm weather areas can usually stand a lightweight pullover or hoodie jacket.
Find a family that has several children they can't afford to purchase toys for. Ask the parents, if possible, what the children would like for Christmas, and purchase those items for them. This can consist of clothing, gift cards, or toys. You don't have to get a ton of toys for each child; just two or three items for them to open Christmas morning will make a world of difference between just another day and Christmas Day.