Sometimes it feels like Christmas is one big toy grab. Between the toy catalogs that keep arriving and the commercials they occasionally see, my kids are full of long lists of wants. When it comes to actually make a list of gift suggestions for family we’re struck by how little they actually need.

We’ve always tried to keep down the number of gifts by suggesting family members send money to be put in their college accounts, but the kids still get plenty of toys. To help keep their heads on straight we will be selecting a local boy to shop for, close to their ages. We want them to know that not every kid lives in a nice house, attends a safe and good school, and comes down Christmas morning to a tree full of presents.

angeltree

While we can write a check to help a local organization, I don’t think that means much to my kids. But if I tell them we’re shopping for a 7 year old boy whose parents can afford to buy him anything? That means something to them.

The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program is providing gifts to 60,000 children and senior citizens this year. “Angels” are available for adoption at the following area locations or you can adopt online.  

Other ways you can provide gifts for area families:

Frisco Family Services
A Holiday Store that enables families to shop for their own holiday gifts for each member of the family at no charge. They serve those in need in the Frisco and Frisco ISD communities experiencing a documented crisis. You may request people to help via “ornaments” or send a cash donation (tax deductible!)
Little Hands (charitable events for kids 10 and under) stocking stuffing event is December 3 & 9

Children’s Advocacy Center
Each year, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County’s annual Holiday Project ensures that abused and neglected children served by our Center have a happy holiday. Because of the generosity of our community, hundreds of children receive holiday gifts each year. Adopt a child, family, give toys and more.  Gift drop off Dec. 10 & 11.

Plano Christmas Cops 
Sponsored by the Plano Police Association, families are selected by police officers and screened.  Their needs must be temporary in nature, brought on by unforeseen hardship (i.e. crime victim, layoff) and there must be children in the home who may not have a Christmas without intervention.  This program generally does not assist families who are on other assistance programs.  They need food, toys (new and unwrapped), coats, diapers, formula and more.  There are drop-off boxes at many Plano businesses or you can mail a check (tax deductible!) to Christmas Cops c/o Plano Police Association PO Box 861956 Plano, TX 75086-1956.  Items are picked up Dec. 12.

Plano Santas
(via the Assistance Center of Collin County)
This non-profit provides Christmas gifts and a month’s supply of food for 500 families each year.  They serve children and families living at or below the federal poverty guidelines in the Plano Independent School District (PISD).  You can donate cash to help them.

Toys for Our Tots
Watters Creek, Allen
Guests are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the Allen Community Outreach holiday toy drive. To drop off donation items and share the holiday spirit with those who may not otherwise experience the joy of the holiday season, look for the toy bag at the Watters Creek Concierge, The Lofts office and Santa’s Corner. Through December 11

Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill
4017 Preston Rd, Plano
They are collecting unwrapped toys, art supplies and books for the kids at Children’s Medical Center through

Know of other opportunities where you can select a child and buy them gifts? Please provide the info via comment.