FAQ

What does Christmas in the City actually do?


Christmas in the City strives to ameliorate the impact of being homeless on families and children living in shelters towards a goal of eliminating homelessness. In addition to the annual party, which currently has over 3000 guests, Christmas in the City, (through its Adopt a Family program) offers advice and assistance to families transitioning from shelters to their own housing, provides Thanksgiving food baskets to families who need help to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and distributes gifts to children of over 2000 families in greater Boston who need assistance during the holiday season.

How does Christmas in the City work?


Christmas in the City is an all volunteer organization. There is no paid staff.

We function because thousands of us give time and money to help our neighbors. Our volunteers range in age from kids in elementary schools to retirees. We all do what our circumstances allow, some of us giving an hour or two of our time or a donation of a toy or a small check, to substantial commitments of time and money.

We have found that by pulling together and doing our best, good things happen.

How is Christmas in the City different from ‘Toys for Tots’ & other organizations which collect/distribute holiday gifts?


While toys are an important part of Christmas in the City, our focus is engaging our neighbors, both guests and volunteers, in a magical moment, which brings out the best in all of us and becomes a memory we can share.

Christmas in the City provides each child living in a shelter with the gift that child has selected, wrapped with a card personalizing it to the child. The gift is presented to each child at party which is far beyond their wildest dreams.

After being greeted at the door by their favorite cartoon characters, the children are lavished with a catered lunch, a stage show, petting zoo, hands-on exhibits from local museums, carnival rides, clowns, athletes from local pro teams, visits with Santa. Hair dressers, barbers and estheticians pamper both Mom’s and kids. Dentists clean teeth. All this happens in a safe, festive environment. It is The Best Day of the Year for most of our guests.

More than simply giving a gift, we attempt to connect with the family and child in a way that they know their neighbors care for them. And having developed relationships with organizations sheltering homeless families, Christmas in the City is able to offer support and guidance to families as they transition from shelters to their own homes.

What is a CITC Satellite?


CITC receives thousands of presents and donations from organizations or individuals. The gifts end up stacked from floor to ceiling at Kennedy Brothers’ Physical Therapy office in Downtown Crossing. While this is amazing and needs to be seen to be believed, Christmas in the City has grown beyond the point where the gifts we need, and the space required to plan and execute what we do, can no longer be accommodated in the space we have.  Plus this space limitation does not allow us to involve volunteers as effectively and efficiently as either we or they would like.  Satellites will allow us to better connect with volunteers as well as allow volunteers to come together to fundraise/collect presents in all different locations.

A satellite will consist of a group of individuals in your area that will be focused on a various tasks…raising funds, collecting presents, providing administrative support, soliciting volunteers for particular tasks or some of all of these things.  They can be responsible for acquiring needed toys from the toy list or adopting a shelter and obtaining specific presents for each boy and girl.  Each satellite group will receive assistance, instructions, and contact with CITC organizers to ensure the process goes smoothly  and satisfyingly for all concerned.

Does Christmas in the City accept ‘lightly used’ toys?


No. Each child gets a new toy he or she specifically requests.

We do accept non-toy items and collectables that can serve as stocking stuffers if they are in like new condition.


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