The best gifts can’t be bought in a store. The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give more life by giving blood this December.

Alison Wissen knows the power of blood donations. She received 22 units of blood products after experiencing complications during childbirth.

“I truly owe my life to blood donors,” she said. “Even the skilled hands of my surgeons could not have saved me without the blood.”

Because of blood and platelet donors, Wissen will celebrate the holidays with her three children and husband.

In December, donations decline but the needs of patients remain steady. During the holiday season, set aside an hour to give the most important gift – give blood and give more life. To encourage donations, all those who come to give blood or platelets Dec. 21, through Jan. 7, will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Make an appointment to give blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Dec. 16-31:

Inman

Dec. 29: noon to 6 p.m., St Peter’s United Church of Christ, 111 Pine 

Goessel

Dec. 26: 2 to 6 p.m., Mennonite Church, 109 S. Church

Newton

Dec. 28: 11:45 a.m. - 6 p.m., Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 415 S. Ash

Dec. 29 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 415 S. Ash

Hillsboro

Dec. 22: noon to 6 p.m., Hillsboro City Hall, 118 E. Grand

Salina

Dec. 22: noon to 6 p.m., Central Mall Realty, 2259 S. 9th Street

Dec. 27: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sam’s Club, 2919 Market Place

Dec. 27: noon to 7 p.m., Sunrise Presbyterian, 825 E. Beloit

Dec. 28: noon to 7 p.m., Sunrise Presbyterian, 825 E. Beloit

Dec. 29: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Sunrise Presbyterian, 825 E. Beloit

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.