Play Kris Kringle to a Critter in Need

Volunteers are needed to drive blankets and food to area animal shelters.

Though we'd very much like to own one, we don't need a crystal ball to predict that, each and every year, people spend more and more on their pets come the holidays.

Toys are just the start; beds and spa treatments and fancy, bone-shaped snacks can be found under trees across the land.

But many an animal is in a shelter or awaiting adoption, even during the ho-ho-ho-iest time of the year. That's where Operation Santa Paws comes in. Nope, it isn't a traditional adoption event, though fingers crossed a few beasties find their forever homes during the campaign.

Rather people donate blankets and goods and toys and such, all with shelter animals in mind, and then? Volunteers, many rocking Santa suits or reindeer-antlered headbands, head out to deliver the sacks full of necessities and a few treats, too.

If cuddling a few critters and dropping off cleaning supplies and water bowls and such at a few shelters appeals to you, and you've done your shopping, and you aren't planning on visiting the mall on the Saturday before Christmas, here's a plan: Sign up to play Santa, or one of many Santas, with Operation Santa Paws.

The team'll head out to shelters around Orange County and Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 21, with lots of goods in tow, goods that have been donated by pet-loving human throughout the last few weeks.

Call it a nice way to give a few needing-a-little-luck animals some sweetness and to meet other animal aficionados. And to wear an Ol' St. Nick suit, if you have one.

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Surely you do, yes?

The animals probably won't appreciate your clothing choice, but other volunteers will, and we call that, and the entire day of deliveries, very much in the spirit of the season.

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