Christmas Giving Tree spokesman Mike Curtis, of Balclutha Round Table, said 52 recipients had been identified by local social services this year, meaning organisers placed 52 cards on the tree hosted by Balclutha retailer Ladybird Junction.
"Anyone can pick up a card and follow the guidelines to donate a gift," he said.
"Local people have been particularly generous this year, and were even asking for cards before the tree was up, which just reflects what a great community we have down here in South Otago."
Clutha Budget Advisory Service/Food Hub co-ordinator Lee-Anne Michelle said, in common with New Zealanders across the country, southerners were "doing it hard" this year.
"This year with the cost-of-living crisis, everything has become expensive, so finding that bit extra for Christmas is really tough for everyday, hard-working people.
"Every kid deserves a Christmas, and this is one way to help to make that happen."