According to news reports “Secret Santa” is out in force again this year giving random gifts of cash to those in need. This is heart-warming news considering the tough times people are facing across the nation. I’ve been a follower of the Secret Santa movement since I first learned of the idea a few years ago on the Dave Ramsey radio show.
The late Larry Stewart is credited with starting the Secret Santa movement as he passed out over a million dollars in gifts in his 26 years playing Secret Santa in the Kansas City area. After his death, an army of Secret Santas have taken up his cause. An excerpt from the AP story provides a great example of the impact even a relatively small gift can make on a person’s life:
Cynthia Brown, 40, was laid off three weeks ago from her food service job. Santa found her at the St. Louis County health clinic and gave her $100, exactly what she had asked to borrow from her mother a night ago to buy food.
“I have three daughters, and I can’t get unemployment yet. I was down in food,” she said.
I imagine Ms. Brown’s life was forever changed at that moment. Not because the $100 will solve all her financial problems, but because she was blessed by the generous gift of a complete stranger. The Secret Santa letter had but one string attached, and that “is that you do something nice for someone. Pass it on.”
In addition to participating in The One Dollar Give, this year my family is planning a little Secret Santa gift giving mission ourselves, but I can’t give details because then it wouldn’t be a secret! I encourage you to find a way to perform a random act of kindness for someone else during the holiday season. It doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, it doesn’t even have to involve money. Roll a neighbor’s trash can up from the street before they get home. Take some bake goodies around to neighbors on the weekend. Offer to cook a warm meal for a family going through a tough time. Volunteer some of your time to help a shelter or local charity. The point is to find a way to brighten the holidays for someone else.
I would love to hear your Secret Santa ideas for spreading a little holiday cheer this year.