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.

How to give

Follow the instructions below to support a low-income child or family without enough resources to have gifts for the holidays.

How to receive

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!

Instructions to adopt a family

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Pick your destination and go shopping.

  4. Wrap the gifts and attach recipient names to each.

  5. Drop them off at the designated spot.

Reflection Questions

  • 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?

  • Does giving in this way make you look at your own holiday gifts in a different way? How or why not?


  • 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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The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.