The Christmas season is a special time of year for everyone. It doesn't matter if you're rich, poor, surrounded by loved ones, or alone, this time of year. There's something in the very air that seems to fall down with the snow which makes the magic we all talk about seem real, for just a few weeks.
It may be the weather, but I think it's actually about the people who go out of their way to make this time of year easier for those who may be struggling with the added pressure. In recent years, several people have gone above and beyond to restore everyone's faith in the Christmas spirit and humanity overall.
During the holidays, many stores allow people to put a deposit on several items that they want to purchase, and pay at a later date. This is so that they still have a chance to buy the items, even if they don't have the funds to pick them up now.
Most often, people take advantage of the Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving Day to save money on their holiday purchases, returning in the following weeks in order to pay off their tab. Even still, it is especially hard for parents to pay for everything they want to get their kids, and any act of charity means the world to them.
So instead of donating to a specific charity, some philanthropists have been dropping into stores and lifting the burden of Christmas shopping from those less fortunate than themselves.
Every little bit helps, but shoppers were blown away by what these people did for them and their families.
Middletown, Connecticut - $5,000
Last year, the store manager of a Walmart in Middletown, CT got to share good news with many of his patrons. As hundreds of holiday shoppers were going about their business, choosing gifts for their children and loved ones, they were walking alongside a guardian angel who selflessly gave back to their community.
An anonymous donor had walked in and paid $5,000 in layaway costs, meaning many people had the cost of their Christmas lists lightened, or even completely covered.
"I know him, but he doesn't want to be identified," said store manager Darren Dooley.
Apparently, the same man repeated the generous act at several other stores in the area.
Portland, Maine - $10,000
The news came as such a relief for dozens of low-income families in Maine, when a husband and wife walked into the South Portland store and told the manager that they wanted to pay for $10,000 worth of layaway orders that others had set aside.
The manager was beside himself, but agreed to keep their wonderful act anonymous, so that people didn't know who in their community gave them the best Christmas present.
The donation paid for over 100 layaway accounts, and many families became emotional upon learning the news.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey - $12,000
This year, a member of the small town of Cherry Hill wanted to give back to the community that raised him. The donor, who goes by Charlie K., fully paid off 62 layaway orders at a Toys'R'Us near his home for an amount over $10,000.
"Just, you know, trying to bring some happiness to people. That's really it," he said. "Help bring back to the community that brought so much happiness to me and my family. I can only do it because of the community that provided me the luxury to do it. I love this community, and I'm trying to provide back for it."
After paying for the layaway orders, Charlie K. paid for an additional $2,000 worth of gifts to donate to the Toys for Tots campaign, enlisting the help of shoppers to pick out the gifts for less fortunate children.
Is your heart warm yet? Keep reading to see some truly astonishing acts by ordinary citizens who wanted to give the gift of an extraordinary Christmas morning!
Memphis, Tennessee - $30,000
A Walmart in Memphis was surprised to receive a call from a couple from California asking about existing holiday purchases, until they realized that they wanted to pick up the cost of the whole account.
The store manager said that the total came to $30,276, and the couple asked if they could send a check. Steve and Samantha Bryson were inspired by a news story on the same act of kindness and wanted to help out as well. Mr. Bryson said it was an easy decision to make when choosing the location.
"Because I'm from here and I was dirt poor growing up," he said. "I have very deep, deep ties there."
Everett, Pennsylvania - $46,000
It received national attention when it happened, and inspired many others in the country to mimic the same beautiful act where hundreds of children had their Christmas mornings made perfect, and their parents were able to save their money in this difficult time of year.
Nearly 200 accounts had their layaway accounts fully paid off when a woman walked into the local Walmart and said she intended to pay the balance of all of their remaining holiday accounts.
This was the third year that the store had their layaway tabs paid for, and they remain committed to keeping the identity of the donor a secret, even with this, their largest donation yet!