How to Apply for Free Christmas Gifts

The holiday season can be one of the most exciting times of the year for many people. However, for some families, it can be an incredibly difficult time. For low-income families and military families, for example, this time of the year tends to be a little tougher as they may not know how to get holiday gifts for their children and others they love.

It is also a time where they will likely have to pay bills that have increased due to the cold, worry about how to feed their families and miss out on a lot of the holiday cheer.

Thankfully, there are local organizations – as well as local churches, holiday programs, and national charities – that are here to provide some holiday assistance for these needy families.

There are different ways of applying to these holiday assistance programs, depending on the organization itself.

However, many of them do request information regarding applicant families, wish lists, and sometimes request interviews.

Here, we’ll look at some of these foundations that provide Christmas assistance – and even financial assistance – for low income families around the holidays, and how you can apply for free Christmas gifts with their support.

Where Do They Give Free Xmas Gifts?

Thankfully, there are multiple charities and organisations that help to provide free Christmas gifts for families across the USA. Some of the best organisations include:

Be An Elf

This fantastic organisation works alongside with USPS Operation Santa to help children in need get free Christmas toys.

The organization works via the mail – applying families in question should send a letter to Santa – through the USPS scheme mentioned.

Once received, a volunteer can go online to purchase and send the present(s) in question to the family in need.

Of course, not every letter can be answered, and so the organization recommends that families in need mail their letter by no later than Thanksgiving.

Participants do have until the 12th of December to send their letter, however, the earlier it is sent the more likely it is to be seen.

They also recommend sending the entire family’s letters together in order to have a better chance of everyone getting a fair share, and that you are honest about your financial struggle.

The people opening your letters will be more likely to choose you and your family if they are touched by your story.

It is generally recommended to ask for things such as clothes and toys, gift cards, etc.

The children should then each write and send a letter thanking the volunteer who will help and list what they would like for Christmas this year. Click here to learn more.

The Salvation Army Angel Tree

 The Salvation Army is a much-loved global charity that focuses on helping those in need.

There are Salvation Army branches in most states – and they rely on the help from volunteers and donations from local communities.

They frequently hold Christmas assistance programs to help with families in need.

You should contact the Salvation Army for more information about they could help you and your family this Christmas season.

If you are close to one, too, you can enquire about any Christmas donation events coming up.

Their Angel scheme allows needy adults and children to apply for volunteer assistance, and receive free Christmas presents when they simply cannot afford any on their own.

Click here to find out more about the Angel Tree scheme, and about how you could claim free toys for Christmas.

The Family Giving Tree

You may have heard of the Family Giving Tree, but did you know that they also have a Holiday Wish Drive Program?

  • They primarily help families in need around the California Bay Area.
  • The deadline for signing up to the Family Giving Tree is in July.
  • You can apply online by submitting a copy of your 501C3 or EIN number.
  • Within 7 or 10 days, you should receive a letter notifying you about whether or not your request has been approved.
  • If you have been approved, then the agency will then interview the children in the family to find out more about their holiday wishes and requests.

They will then send those wish lists to the companies that participate with the organisation. Find out more about the Wish Drive here.

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Toys for Tots

This organization is a national non-profit that works by delivering unwrapped Christmas gifts for children.

Toys for Tots works with local organizations to ensure that local families with children from the ages of 12 and under are prioritized for the program. 

The organization publishes a list of agencies with which you can get into contact around the 1st of November.

You can head to the Toys for Tots website and find the ‘Donate or request a toy’ link.

You will be able to find the list of agencies that you can contact.

The agencies will then ask for you for:

  • a proof of residency
  • the ages of the children in your family
  • the names of the children in your family
  • and a short text describing why you need the toys from the organization.

Finally, a member of the Toys for Tots team will contact you to verify all of your provided information.

Santa’s Little Helpers

This organization is quite special and different from the others in that it is an online community that started on Reddit.

Anyone can register to be considered for Santa’s Little Helpers; however, the organization does prioritise families in desperate need.

Sign-up for the organisation starts in late October, unfolding both on their website and on their Subreddit.

You will need to set up an Amazon wish list as well as write about who you are and why your family needs help.

Reddit users who see and participate in the thread will then have the opportunity to see your list and purchase the gifts for you through Amazon. Simple!

What do I Need to be Eligible to Apply for Free Gifts?

Many community organizations ask for low-income families in need to provide information regarding their current financial situation, sometimes a proof of address, and usually a wish list.

They ask for this kind of information to ensure that it is that families that need help the most receive the most care.

Essentially, if you can prove you have a low income and a family in need, you will normally be able to apply for Christmas help – from free toys to free Christmas trees, holiday meals and other holiday assistance.


There are plenty of organizations available who can help families that need support this holiday season.

Whether you are looking for help from local agencies or a national body yourself, or are looking for ways in which you can help those who are struggling financially this year, do not hesitate to contact any of these agencies listed – or more for more information about how you can get involved.

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