Christmas Gift Shops, historically hosted at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and veterans homes, offers veterans in these facilities an opportunity to send gifts to their loved ones at no cost. A cherished tradition since 1928, American Legion Auxiliary volunteers collect donations or purchase items as gifts for veterans. ALA Gift Shops may be placed in a specific location within a VA facility, may take the form of a cart full of gifts, or they may travel from one physical location to another.
While Christmas Gift Shops may look different at each location, the experiences for volunteer and veteran are very similar.
ALA volunteers make sure that veterans confined to their rooms are able to participate and offer to shop for them. Those who may not see their loved ones over the holidays can ship their gifts at no cost to them.
"You have to be there to see it. The joy you get from the veterans, the appreciation they show you. Some of them have been kind of estranged from their families, so this is a way for them to get back in their families’ lives. You see that every year, and you want to go back and help again."
- Linda Liebenow, ALA Christmas Gift Shop Volunteer: 1997-present and member of Auxiliary Unit 6 in Hillsboro, Ore.