Donate to your local food bank? Local to us there are often appeals for toy donations for poor families too - maybe look out for that sort of thing?
You could see if any local old people's homes will have residents that don't usually receive a gift on Christmas - there was a young girl in my area that ran an appeal last year for this, making sure every resident of a home had a gift. Sad to think a lot of them wouldn't have otherwise.
Apologies if this isn't the sort of thing you were looking for, they're the first things that popped into my head.
Also mentioned this on another thread but we do Mary's Meals school backpacks - you buy a cheap rucksack and fill it with stationery and similar bits and bobs the lack of which would prevent a child in a poor country from attending school.
Also several local food banks and rough sleeper charities I know of ask for a nicely decorated/wrapped shoebox filled with things that might make life a tiny bit easier. This includes hats and warm gloves, snacks, vouchers for coffee or the local charity shop (to buy clothes) and a Christmas card so that they receive one. Didn't there used to be something for soldiers serving overseas who didn't have family too? Hmmm, may google that for later.
Shipping small boxes of stuff overseas is a very wasteful and self-indulgent form of charity, so while other shoebox schemes may not have the same ethical issues as Samaritan's Purse itself, they are still not a great use of money and resources. If you want to do the most good, cash donation to a development or relief charity (preferably regular or as a child sponsorship arrangement) is far better.
Or donate money or food to local food bank, ask any nearby homeless shelters or women's refuges what would be helpful as a gift (they often get overwhelmed with stuff at Christmas but forgotten the rest of the year, so maybe make a diary note to donate again in 3/6/9 months' time).
Watch out for any local toy appeals (for children in hospital/in care/recently arrived refugees/other needy families) in the run-up to Christmas
If you're going to donate to a football I advise you ring them first. We did a football collection a few years ago and they wouldn't actually accept it until late January because they were inundated with donations over christmas. They said a monetary donation at Christmas would be better because they can then put it in the kitty for later in the year when they have fewer donations and have to buy in certain items.
We give to more local charities so we donate to the food bank more in the run up to Christmas and also donate a toy to the metropolitan police toy drive. My son really enjoys choosing a toy and taking it into the local station.
Thanks for posting this, I was going to start the same thread. I’ve been doing the operation Christmas child boxes for several years now, already done mine for this year but fancy a chance for next. Mary’s Meals sounds great, I’ve never heard of them but may go with them for next year.
I'm sending a donation to the local foodbank alongside what I send regularly. Will probably buy Christmas treats tbh as I'd like to think that everyone who needs a foodbank at Christmas got treats alongside the staples. After Christmas I buy as much of the reduced Christmas treats as I can afford and donate them then as well.