Jennifer Lopez is most definitely feeling the Christmas Spirit in 2012.
"I love going and shopping for Christmas presents for everybody and making gifts and seeing their faces light up and surprising them; that's where I get my joy," she said last week.
And she means it. The 43-year-old star recently launched her "J. Lo's Christmas Gift" drive, asking fans to donate to her three favorite charities this year. Those include:
- The Boys & Girls Club
- The Children's Hospital of Los Angeles
- The American Red Cross
In exchange, she'll give someone two tickets to the last show of her "Dance Again" world tour in Puerto Rico on Saturday; she'll also pay airfare and hotel costs.
"It's just that kind of doing something nice for somebody, and they do something nice back and kind of paying it forward," she said in a phone interview.
In a rare piece of celebrity news you can feel good about, she's promoting the contest, ending Monday, on Twitter with the hashtag #JLOSCHRISTMASGIFT.
She got the idea to use social media to encourage her fans to give back since becoming more in Twitter and Facebook and seeing a huge response to contests.
"I was thinking about it, 'What if every person I tweeted and asked for a follow donated a dollar?' I have 13½ million followers (on Twitter)," she said.
"We can collect a lot of money for these charities that are literally close to my heart."
Part of the reason Lopez chose the Red Cross is because of its relief work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of N.Y. City, where Lopez is from.
Lopez added that her recent tour has been a "life-changing experience," but acknowledged it could also be grueling at times, with the constant travel.
For that reason, she said she identified with Jenni Rivera, the Latin music superstar who was killed December 8 in a plane crash en route home from a concert.
"I didn't know her personally but I knew of her. For me, just being on tour right now, you live the same type of life. You know what I mean? It's traveling, it's doing shows," Lopez said.
"She considered herself a businesswoman as well, besides an artist, and she had kids and I'm sure she was rushing home to get home to her kids."
"So you go like, wow, it's just like a wake-up call for everybody. It's tragic. She was so young, so young, and she had five kids. It just wasn't her time."