Adopt a child or family during the winter holidays.

Adopt a Child or Family for the Holidays

Sprinkle kindness through your holiday season

"Adopting” a disadvantaged child or family at holiday time can inspire a sense of giving in your children.

Possible recipients

A low-income child or family without enough resources to have gifts for the holidays.

What you’ll need

  • A list of gift options* for your “adopted” child or family.
  • The courage to face a shopping expedition with your children!


  • Contact your local Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services or Salvation Army or visit to be matched with your recipient(s), ideally similar in age to your own children.
  • After you learn the specifics about your recipient(s) (age, gender, etc.), brainstorm gift ideas with your family. If the organization gave you a list of requested gift items, consider that, too.
  • Pick your destination and go shopping.
  • Wrap the gifts and attach recipient names to each.
  • Drop them off at the designated spot.


  • What would it feel like to receive holiday gifts from a stranger instead of family and friends?
  • What would your holiday be like if you didn’t receive any presents?
  • What are other ways you can help cheer up families in need over the holidays?


  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1957). A timeless tale about what Christmas is really about.
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Zonderkidz, 2010). Ages 4 and up. Brother and Sister Bear are eager to receive their Christmas presents. But during the Christmas pageant, they learn a valuable lesson about generosity.

Take it further

*Cost can vary greatly on some projects depending on the way you approach them. Consider asking friends and neighbors to “sponsor” your effort if you get excited about a project that may be out of your price range. You might end up with a big-hearted community at your side!

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