With all of the busyness of exam season going on during prime Christmas shopping time, I often get caught up in trying to buy gifts for my friends and family and forget there are other people who don't get to celebrate the holidays in the same and very fortunate way that I get to. 

While I might be busy trying to meet up with friends and others I know are taking road trips to visit family, some people are struggling to find a place to sleep and animals continue to go without food. Likewise, those in developing countries continue to struggle just to get clean water and some children are celebrating Christmas from their hospital beds.

Although it may not be much, I hope this serves as a reminder to  help those who don't get to celebrate the holidays like many of us throughout North America do. Whether it be through your time or money (most of which is matched by other organizations), here's what you can consider doing! 

1. Donate to SickKids

Photo by Ignacio R on Unsplash

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As a kid, I was filled with excitement jumping out of bed on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought me, but not all kids can do the same. SickKids matches your donation amount when you spend on buying baking supplies through their Get Better Gifts program which aims to help children feel at home away from home. You can also donate the gift of art supplies, video games and entertainment, most of which will be matched, or you can donate from your corporation. 

2. WWF 

By now you may have seen this starving polar bear searching for food, and while it's heartbreaking to see animals suffering, you can help through donating to WWF where you can help specific species through contributing to climate change efforts.

3. Me-to-We

A few trips to get fast food could easily equal the amount of money it takes to give one child lunches for a whole year, $25. You can also give the gift of education for a child or clean water to a whole family for life by donating through We Charity. If you're still looking for gifts, you can shop by impact and buy something for you or someone else which in turn pays for things like food, education, health, and more. After receiving what you've bought, Me-To-We allows you to track your impact with the code given to you on whatever you buy. 

4. Make-A-Wish

Photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash

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While you can't grant wishes, you can certainly help one come true for children with critical illnesses. By visiting Make-A-Wish, you can donate money or Airmiles to contribute to granting a child's wish, and until December 31st, the Make-A-Wish Foundation will match the amount you donate. You can also share this Facebook post and Make-A-Wish will donate 50 cents for every share. 

5. Plan International

Gift everything from baby chicks to a farm load of animals by donating to Plan International. You can also gift books, medicine, endless harvests and more – all of which are matched up to ten times by a government, partner or foundation. The smallest amount can go a long way. 

But while online donations can reach people across the globe, they can also be costly so here are a few ways to give back through giving nothing but your time. 

6. Donate canned goods you're not going to eat, jackets, blankets, and old clothing

There are so many things we have sitting around that we don't need, and I admit I do too, but cleaning out your closets and cupboards not only helps you free some space, it helps others stay warm and a little less hungry. 

7. Volunteer at a Gleaners, Soup Kitchens and Homeless Shelters 

This may just be the most literal way to give back with the gift of food this holiday season. When thinking about volunteering, most people think of homeless shelters and soup kitchens – which are places that still need volunteers especially as the weather continues to get colder – but you might also want to consider searching for your local gleaner and volunteering there. Through doing so, you'll be able to help with food drives and the drying of foods to be made into soups which are then sent to developing countries and to people in your area.

8. FreeRice

Based at the United Nations Food Programme in Rome, Italy, Free Rice donates 10 grains of rice for every question you get right on their website. You can test yourself on math, science, chemistry and more, or prepare for an SAT, all while contributing to feeding those in third-world countries. 

Hopefully you have some ideas of how to give back this holiday season, and if you're still shopping for gifts, you may even consider gifting a donation in someone else's name!