Those on a military budget are typically stretched thin and don’t have much extra cash for Christmas presents and the like. Many organizations exist to try and assist in this department, as a way of saying thank you to those families who make that sacrifice for our country, especially the ones with children. These programs make a bigger difference than many realize, providing Christmas to families who likely wouldn’t have had it otherwise. Here are a few of those programs that are filled with holiday spirit.

Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays

You can find adopt-a-family programs all over the country being offered by plenty of different organizations. If military families are able to provide proof of need, then they can submit their wish lists to a said organization which will then be picked up by donors. The donors “adopt” the family they receive and then purchase the items of the family. This is one of the most popular programs out there, and if you want to be on it you must make sure you fill out the application many months before Christmas.

Operation Christmas Spirit

This group uses a similar “adoption” scheme as the previous group. They adopt over 100 families and fulfill their Christmas wish lists with gifts as well as gift cards so they can do their own shopping. Operation Christmas Spirit also sponsors gifts and crafts at unit holiday parties as well as “adopting” single Marines and Sailors, who they give gifts and gift cards to in order to celebrate regardless of if they’re near or far from their family. 

Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies every December in Arlington, as well as other veterans’ cemeteries and locations in all 50 states. The group puts on an entire week of events that include international veteran’s tributes as well as ceremonies at State Houses. There’s even a week-long ‘Veterans Parade” between Main and Virginia.

Operation Homefront

This group offers programs for military families year-round, not only during Christmas. They’re partnered with Dollar Tree in order to provide toys specifically for military children. If you want to register your child to receive a gift, you’ll have to register at your local Operation Homefront Toy Distribution. You can even attend one of the organization’s many holiday meal events if you’re short on funds this year and can’t afford to get one.