Have you heard of Secret Santa?
It’s a tradition where members in a group – say an office for instance all pick one person to give a gift to.
This was how it went down in our office last year. Everyone’s name is written and placed in a box and you are to buy a gift(big or small) for the person whose name you pick.
The main idea behind this is that everyone gets a gift and everyone gets to give something.
This is something we did in house last year and we thought why not give you that same opportunity.
However, we figured you might be curious like me and would want to know the origins of a Secret Santa
We did a deep dive and spent hours researching just to give you the right information on the origin of secret santa and boy this tradition is far reaching across countries and cultures that there are so many different origin stories.
But we found one that is both recent, not a myth, a real life story and the most popular of all Secret Santa origin stories
A “homeless” man enters a restaurant in Houston and orders the biggest breakfast the owners have ever seen.
The man had no intentions of paying and planned to leave the restaurant just before the bill arrived
However, the store owner- Ted Horn – had different ideas.
He thought the homeless man could not afford the bill and to prove the point he decided to give the man something more
He gave the “homeless” man a $20 dollar bill under the pretense that it had fallen from him on the floor
The homeless man was so moved by this act of kindness, he made a vow
He vowed right then, thanking the good Lord for this blessing, that if he ever could he would help as many people as possible
The name of this homeless man was Larry Stewart – Larry was a salesman who was down on his luck as at the time and that act of kindness stayed with him
A few years later Larry would get a chance to keep his vow when he became a multi-millionaire.
He had made a fortune in cable television and long distance calling but his real legacy would be something else entirel
Just how every culture has a myth to explain the origin of man, Most cultures have their own origin story when it comes to secret gift giving.
From 1979, Every Christmas season Larry would hand out small amounts of cash, usually in the form of a $100 bill, to needy people.
In fact, he handed out 100$ bills to lots of people on the street. It is estimated he gave out an outstanding $1.3 million within 26 years.
Even New Yorkers received $25,000 after the 9/11 attacks and thousands more after Hurricane Sandy
What was more, he did all this anonymously and It wasn’t until he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2006 that the world became aware of his identity.
When news about his identity spread around, he became a reluctant celebrity with a cult following, and he even founded the Society of Secret Santas.
Larry Stewart died as a result of his illness on January 12, 2007 and one of his greatest legacy was being known as “The Secret Santa”
Now, I think before Larry, there was a Secret Santa – remember that store owner? Mr Ted Horn- yes the one who helped Larry while he was down on his luck
Imagine how different the story would have turned out if he had done anything differently.
Imagine all the lives that “Larry” would not have touched if not for that $20 worth of kindness
Now, We are urging you to go out there this Christmas Season and be a Secret Santa or Inspire a future Secret Santa
We want you to share the joys of Christmas with the less fortunate, The needy, those who would not have any gifts to celebrate
It could be your neighbour, a co-worker, someone on your street – Nothing is too small and even if you think “Santa” is a myth
Be a Secret Santa or at the very least Inspire someone with an act of Kindness
Feeling Inspired.. Here’s how to help us reach more people this season