We often get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season and forget that not everyone gets to celebrate Christmas and New Years in the same ways we do. While we might be busy shopping for gifts, meeting up with friends, and going on vacation, some people are struggling to find a place to sleep and animals are without food.

On top of that, people in developing countries aren't waking up to clean water never mind gifts on Christmas morning, and some children are celebrating Christmas from their hospital beds. 

While normally I would donate to the Salvation Army baskets as I walked past them, this year I decided to search for a place to donate where I would know exactly what my money was being spent on, and who was receiving it – here's what I found. 

1. SickKids

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 which 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 may have shared it and continued to scroll. This being said, it's important to know that you can make a difference to change the future lives of other polar bears and wild animals by donating to WWF. You can donate to a specific species, or donate to protect polar bears and other wildlife from climate change so that they're still able to find food. 

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, you can track your impact with the code given to you on whatever you buy. 

4. Make-A-Wish

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. So if you give medicine to mothers and children for $20, the total value donated is $120

While online donations can reach people across the globe, they can also be costly, however, there are other ways of giving back which cost absolutely nothing but time and can be done all year round.

6. Donate canned goods, jackets, blankets, and old clothing

I know it seems kind of obvious, but sometimes people forget that they don't need to donate money in order to help give back. You can clean out your closets and your cupboards while helping other people stay warm and full this winter season. 

7. Gleaners

When thinking about volunteering, most people think of homeless shelters and soup kitchens, but if you search for a local gleaner and volunteer there, 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. 

9. Volunteer at soup kitchens and homeless shelters

Though it may be the most literal way to give back with the gift of food, volunteers are still needed at homeless shelters and soup kitchens especially as the weather continues to get colder.

If you think even a small donation isn't helpful, someone will most definitely appreciate it. So as the year reaches its end, please look into helping at least one person or animal this holiday season, it may not even cost you anything. You can also share this article to spread the word and remind your friends and family about what they can do to give back.