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

A young child holding his parent's hand and looking at a holiday window display.

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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 financial time, you may feel 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 gifts under the tree.

This year has been difficult for many people. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, know that you are not alone. It can be difficult to feel the joy of the season in the face of financial difficulties. If you’re worried that you can’t plan a special vacation for your kids because your bank account balance is low, there are resources you can use. Keep reading to find out how to get help putting presents under the tree when money is tight.

1. Sea toys for toddlers

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 a little extra holiday cheer. You can contact your local Marine Toys for Toys campaign for assistance.

2. USPS Operation Santa

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

3. United Way

Centraide helps its vulnerable neighbors in several ways. These include providing shelter, security and food in times of crisis and taking action to address social and educational disparities. United Way provides meals and gifts to families in need during the holidays. If you need help with gifts, you can contact your local United Way chapter.

4. Santa’s Little Helpers

Santa’s Little Helpers is an online community on Reddit called “Happiest Place on Reddit”. Those who need help making holiday magic can sign up and post a wish list, and Santa’s Helpers volunteer to make their wishes come true. Interested families must register by December 10. Once registered, you can post a wishlist to request support.

5. Boys and Girls Clubs of America

The Boys & Girls Club of America is committed to helping children succeed. The organization provides children with a safe place to learn and grow and gives them access to great 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 service 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 with 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 donated 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 make it easier to navigate a difficult time in your life. Remember that your current situation doesn’t have to be your reality forever. Focus on overcoming your current challenges one day at a time.

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