3 Simple Ways to Make Someone Else’s Season Bright

Your holiday to-do list seems never-ending. But, all it takes is a few minutes at your computer (or perhaps one afternoon with your kids) to make the holiday season much brighter for your neighbors in need. Here are three of the simplest ways you can make a difference this month.

1. Fulfill a Hospitalized Child’s Wish List

Starlight Wish Lists partners with more than 500 pediatric facilities across the country, including Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Pediatrics and Rush Children’s Hospital, to help them publish a customized list of their patients’ unmet needs. The wish lists include items that will improve the lives and health of children—from tablets and movies to comfort packages and diapers.

When: Now through the holiday season.

Where/How: Visit starlight.org and click “Fulfill a starlight wish list.” On this page you can find a hospital to donate to by searching for its location, name or specialty served. Once you choose your partner hospital you can view its wish list and make your purchase(s) online. The purchases will be delivered directly to the hospital. 

The organization: Starlight’s mission is to improve the lives and health of families around the world. The organization was founded in 1982 by filmmaker Peter Samuelson and his cousin, actress Emma Samms, after Samms’ younger brother tragically died of aplastic anemia. It originally started as a wish-granting organization for hospitalized children and it gradually grew to include a number of programs for children and their families. Today Starlight partners with more than 1,000 healthcare facilities around the world.

Photo courtesy of Starlight Children’s Foundation.


2. Build a Gingerbread House to Benefit Your Favorite Charity

A. Perry Homes and Make It Better will host a gingerbread house-making contest for children age 13 and under. The winner will receive $250 for the charity of his or her choice. Voting takes place online immediately after the event. The event costs $20 per house. Please enter only one house per family.

When: Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: A. Perry Design Studio, 564 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka

How: You can sign up online here.

The organization: A. Perry Homes consists of architects, builders and remodelers of the finest custom homes along the Chicago’s North Shore, Wisconsin’s Lake Geneva area and Michigan’s Harbor Country. Located in Winnetka and Libertyville, A. Perry’s custom homes and remodels feature dynamic architecture, superior craftsmanship and personalized service for each client.



3. Purchase Holiday Cards or Gift Tags to Benefit The Hadley School for the Blind

The Woman’s Board of The Hadley School for the Blind has held its annual braille holiday card sale since 1956. Their cards feature greetings in both print and braille and all proceeds will benefit Hadley. New this year, the board is selling coordinating gift tags that come packaged in cellophane and tied with ribbon.

North Shore artist Sallie Stanley created this year’s card art. Stanley has been painting for 30 years and has taught children and adults, most recently at the North Shore Art League, where she also served on the board as head of faculty and education.

When: Now through Dec. 17.

Where/How: There are three ways to purchase cards:

  • Online at hadley.edu/holidaycard
  • On-site at the school located at 700 Elm St. in Winnetka, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • By phone at 800-323-4238

The organization: The Hadley School for the Blind’s mission is to promote independent living through lifelong, distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families and blindness service providers. The world’s largest educator of braille, Hadley serves 10,000 students in all 50 states and 100 countries each year and thousands more through Seminars@Hadley, free “just in time” webinars on a variety of vision-related topics. For more information, visit hadley.edu or call 800-323-4238.

Photo courtesy of The Hadley School for the Blind.