The 5 Most Amazing Secret Santa Gifts Ever

By Brittany Lyte on 3 December 2014 1 comment

The man in the big red suit comes gliding in with a sleigh full of presents just once a year. And some people are so inspired by the joy he brings that they've set out to do the same — of course, on a much smaller scale. They call themselves Secret Santas, and these anonymous gift givers have one mission: To bring an extra dose of holiday cheer to the lucky recipients of their good will. (See also: 15 Ways to Give to Charity That Fit a Holiday Budget)

1. Mystery Cash From an Anonymous Benefactor

For many New Jersey residents and New Yorkers, the holiday season two years ago wasn't all that bright. Superstorm Sandy had just ravaged the coastline, and with it thousands of homes. Enter a Kansas City business man who saw all that destruction as his cue to play Secret Santa. The man flew to New York with thousands of $100 bills and began doling them out to folks in some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm. All told, he gave away $100,000 without want of praise or recognition — in fact, he refused to divulge his name. "The money is not the point at all," the anonymous benefactor told the local news media as he handed out bills in Staten Island. "It's about the random acts of kindness. I'm just setting an example, and if 10% of the people who see me emulate what I'm doing, anybody can be a Secret Santa!"

2. A Cow and a Jaw-Dropping Gift Tag

Makeup, nail polish, "glittery things," and an iPad. These are some of the things Reddit user Rachel asked for from her Secret Santa. When the website matched her with a user named Bill, she had to laugh. "I thought Bill sounded like a friendly fellow," Rachel wrote. "In fact, I had this whole image of this poor guy named Bill trying to navigate my wish list full of makeup, nail polish, glittery things to buy me. Quite frankly, I felt bad for this Bill."

But Bill didn't get her any of those things she asked for. Instead, the package he mailed to her door contained a stuffed cow, a note saying a donation had been made in her name to Heifer International, and a National Geographic coffee table book about world travel. But the best part of the gift was written on the tag: "To Rachel, my Secret Santa present to you is a cow! Don't worry — you will not have to build a barn. This cow will be given to a family in need, in your name, through Heifer International. It will provide them with income and dairy products, and it will help them help themselves. Happy Holidays, Bill Gates."

That's right — Rachel's Secret Santa was the multi-billionaire Microsoft founder himself. In a Reddit post she wrote to thank Gates, Rachel expressed her deep gratitude. And she was sure to include one little apology: "PS: Sorry for the Apple iPad on my wish list, that was really awkward."

3. Toys for Christmas Morning

Last Christmas a Secret Santa came to the aid of parents who racked up a bit of debt to provide their children with a happy holiday by paying $2,000 for all the toys on layaway at the local Walmart in Granbury, Texas. "I asked if it was just me specifically, if someone had come in. And they said no," said Brittany Browning, a Granbury resident whose Walmart bill was paid off by the Secret Santa. "I'm just in awe of this person. So amazing that someone is willing to do that and able to do that."

4. A Priceless Diamond

It was a Secret Santa who spied a U.S. Marine as he entered a jewelry store in Texas three days before Christmas to buy his finance a diamond ring. When the Marine left the store, the Secret Santa swooped in, asking the store clerk to reverse the Marine's credit card charges so that she could pay for the ring herself. After she wrote a check and paid off the $2,500 account balance, the Secret Santa scribbled a note for the Marine on the receipt: "Merry Christmas to you and to your bride-to-be. Everyone needs a surprise every now and then."

5. A Gold Coin and a Changed Life

A week before Christmas, an anonymous benefactor has placed something special for the last 14 consecutive years into one of the donation kettles belonging to The Salvation Army of Tulsa, Oklahoma: A pure gold South African Krugerrand valued at $680. The coin is always wrapped in a "Merry Christmas" note that borrows an iconic passage from Charles Dickens' novel, Great Expectations:

"It is the same with any life," the note reads. "Imagine one selected day struck out of it and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold or thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

Tulsa Area Commander Maj. Roy Williams suspects the Secret Santa enjoys knowing his or her generous donation "could change the course of a life," he told the local news media.

What's the most amazing Secret Santa gift you've ever given or received? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture
Melody

This one got me weepy! What a joyous article to write this holiday season.