Where to donate (or receive) children’s charity Christmas gifts in the UK, 2023

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In the UK, there are quite a few charities and organisations providing free Christmas gifts to children and families in need. They rely on donations and volunteers to make the holiday season special for those facing financial challenges, so if you’re able to help please do. 

On the other hand, if you’re struggling, these are the perfect people to contact for a little bit of festive help. Every child should have something to open on Christmas morning, so do reach out to one of these fabulous organisations if you need a helping hand!

Here are a few places you can receive or donate to free Christmas gifts for children:

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army runs an annual Christmas Present Appeal to provide toys and gifts for children in need. They have collection points in various locations where you can donate new, unwrapped toys and gifts, which are distributed to families who need them. We do this every year – if you can’t afford to buy a gift, then simply donating gifts your own children haven’t used is fab too, just make sure the items are unused.

The Salvation Army have a helpful list of presents you can give:

  • 0-3 years: dolls, teddy bears, cot mobiles, baby clothes, bath toys, CDs of suitable music and nursery rhymes, puzzles
  • 3-5 years: cars, lorries, DVDs and CDs (music and nursery rhymes), colouring sets, pencils, crayons, books, puzzles, dolls and action figures
  • 5-9: CDs & family friendly DVDs, books, puzzles, wordsearch, crosswords, educational games & toys and stationery
  • 9-12: DVDs, books, t-shirts, hair accessories, gloves, scarves, hats, games and toys
  • 13-16: make-up and toiletries (please try to ensure non-allergic ingredients if possible), books, gloves, scarves, hats, t-shirts, hair accessories and gift vouchers

For more information, and to find a local place to donate, check their website.



There are a few ways to help out Barnardo’s this Christmas – donate your pre-loved items to their charity shops to raise funds, volunteer your time, or send a cash donation through their website to contribute to their Christmas Toy Appeal to support disadvantaged children. Check their website for information on how to get involved.


Local Food Banks

Many local food banks, charities and community kitchens offer Christmas gift programs for families in need, so keep your eyes peeled to help out those in your local area. These programs often provide toys and gifts, as well as much needed food and essential supplies, to families over the Christmas period. See what’s running in your local area, and make use of supermarket collection areas when you’re doing your weekly shop.


Kids Out

Kids Out, working alongside Women’s Aid and other charities, help children who have had to leave their homes and stay in a refuge due to domestic abuse – often leaving everything they own behind. It’s super simple to help out – you can donate a toy to the Giving Tree via the Kids Out website. Choose from a pre-selected list, pay online and the charity will make sure that your gift is delivered to a child in need this Christmas.


Christmas Toy Drives

Keep an eye out for local Christmas toy drives – often organised by community groups, churches, children’s centres, businesses and hospitals. These events collect cash donations or children’s toys to distribute to families in your area. You could even go the extra mile, and help out as a volunteer too. Local social media groups are great place to see what’s going on – and are the perfect place to spread the word too!


Operation Christmas Child

Run by the charity Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child asks people to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children, which are then sent all over the world. While it’s an international program, it’s also active in the UK. Since 1993, they’ve delivered gifts to a staggering 209 million children in over 170 countries – children who otherwise wouldn’t receive any presents at Christmas. But, get organised if you want to help, gifts are usually sent by early/mid-November – visit their website to find out more.


Family Action

Family Action go the extra mile to support families with the winter necessities, as well as making sure that children have a gift to wake up to on Christmas morning. They’re offering families in need practical and emotional support through food clubs, financial grants, FamilyLine, and their Christmas Toy Appeal. It’s super quick and easy to donate to their cause through their website.


Spread the word online, or get your children’s school involved in fund-raising or gift donations, to really give these wonderful causes a boost, and bring some festive joy to children in the UK and beyond!

If you’ve not got much to spare, don’t forget you can volunteer your time (which is just as valuable!) to these amazing causes, and support local groups and charities providing food and gifts to those in need over the festive period. 


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