Our economy is horrible. Many of us are without a job and worry about how we'll pay next month's bills. It's difficult to imagine how we will care for ourselves, let alone give to charity. But, it doesn't take money to make someone's Christmas brighter, warmer or better. Volunteer at your local animal shelter. Donate a bag of kitty litter (generic). Take a shelter dog for a walk. Brush a shelter kitty and listen to it's gentle purr. Many shelters allow pets up for adoption to spend the holidays with a 'foster family'.
I've barely touched on the many things we can do for animals that are less fortunate than ours. PLEASE don't forget them - they need you more at this time of year when many do not have adequate shelter and need extra kibble to generate the body heat that will keep them alive throughout the cold, winter months.