Military budgets, which are often already stretched to their limits, do not contain a lot of money for buying Christmas presents. However, military families are also some of the people who are most deserving of joy during the holidays. To help thank military families for the sacrifices made year-round, many organizations offer programs to make Christmas possible for deserving military families, especially those with children who deserve to have a joy-filled Christmas.
Operation Homefront offers many programs for military families throughout the year and Christmas is no exception. The organization partners with Dollar Tree to provide toys for
military children. To receive a gift, you must register for your local Operation Homefront Toy Distribution. If your family lacks the funds for a holiday meal, you can also attend one of the organization’s holiday meal events and receive all of the fixings for the perfect Christmas dinner.
Trees for Troops
Every family needs a Christmas tree and Tree for Troops, sponsored by the Christmas Spirit Foundation, offers free Christmas trees for military families. Trees are available at 62 bases throughout the United States.
Numerous organizations offer adopt-a-family programs. Military families who can show proof of need submit their wish lists to the organization and donors adopt the families by purchasing items from their wish lists for Christmas. Because of the popularity of adopt-a-family programs, you must fill out an application months before Christmas in order to get on the list. Pay attention to deadlines and get your application in as soon as the window opens because spaces fill up fast.
The Red Cross provides many military family services including but not limited to financial assistance and deployment services.
Soldiers’ Angels sponsors Operation Outreach Holiday Support. Lower enlisted families can sign up to receive a $50-$100 gift card to help pay for a holiday meal and gifts for children ages 15 and under. Families must sign up for the program by December 15 and are matched with donors from around the United States.
Thank Military Families
Thank Military Families sponsors an annual adopt-a-family program. Preference is given to families of deployed troops. Families are adopted by sponsors who send gifts or gift cards directly to them. Those who are not adopted may receive gift cards from the organization’s gift card donation program.
Heroes at Home
The Heroes at Home program through Sears allows military families to apply for a Sears gift card to use to help with holiday shopping. Registration for the gift cards opens at the end of August and closes once 20,000 applications have been received. A select amount of registrants will be chosen to receive the gift cards, which vary based on the amount of donations received.
Full Circle Home
Full Circle Home gives deployed servicemen a chance to send a gift box to their wives back home. Gift boxes contain pampering items, such as lotions, bubble baths and spa socks. They also feature a handwritten note from the serviceman.
Enjoy the Holidays
Whether your service member is deployed or lucky enough to be home for the holidays, take advantage of the Christmas programs for military families to help you enjoy your holidays. Staying connected with your command or unit’s Family Readiness Group can be a way to find out about local programs that offer gifts and meals for military families to help make your holiday even more special.