THE BLOG
12/11/2012 09:22 am ET Updated Feb 10, 2013

Double the Joy This Holiday Season

What's on your holiday wish list this year? Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another tradition during the holiday season, gift-giving is a significant part of the celebrations.

Maybe your best friend has been begging for a pair of bright neon Converse sneakers since last summer, or perhaps your cousin was recently caught eyeing a cookbook penned by his favorite chef. Has your sister's jam sessions to One Direction's new album convinced you that she would be thrilled with 1D concert tickets? Regardless of the presents being envisioned, nearly everybody has a holiday wish in mind.

The teenager growing up in a foster home has her fingers crossed for a Taylor Lautner poster, while a six-year-old boy living in a car with his family is hoping for a skateboard. On the days leading up to December 25, a girl nicknamed "Sweet Tooth" by her friends is picturing all her favorite sugared candies under the Christmas tree, as she is oblivious to the poverty that surrounds her.

These young people are just like us. From homeless shelter residents to low-income families, their holiday wish lists include many items that we're also longing for. This year, double your list and ask for two of the top choice you're anticipating. For example, Lauren Conrad's clothing line at Kohl's is a major hit on my Christmas list. I am asking my mom to buy two sweaters from the fashionable collection: one for me, and one for a teenage girl who's experiencing a tough situation.

Last year, my little sister, who happens to be obsessed with anything associated with Disney, was asking for a Tinkerbell doll. Two young girls received a fairy friend on Christmas morning because of my action. I purchased an extra doll and donated it to charity. Even though I never met the little girl who received the additional Tinkerbell, nor did I see her reaction, I like to imagine that the doll made an impact on her life. Maybe Tinkerbell was a friend that provided comfort and delight during times of need. Just like my sister, I hope she tore off the sparkly, pink wrapping paper, exposing the famous fairy and squealing with excitement. The simple doll I donated may have been this child's source of happiness.

This is the fourth year that I am leading an initiative to provide holiday presents for those in need. Through the nonprofit organization I founded, the Angels Clothing Closet, I've been able to conduct the "Angel's Toy Chest: Holiday Toy Drive." Because of this opportunity, I have learned that giving is better than receiving. The appreciation and gratitude expressed warms my heart every year and is always the highlight of my Christmas.

I encourage readers to purchase an extra gift, like my family does every holiday season. We all have the same wishes, despite our financial situations. To sponsor a child or teenager in need, call your local charity serving disadvantaged youth like a homeless shelter or food pantry. Let's make dreams come true this holiday!