Saturday, December 17, 2011

Secret Santa Surprise

"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness."
~Bob Hope

In the late 1980’s I was working in our local grocery store/trading post at Christmas. My father was the manager of the store and my mother worked there as well. Each year at Christmas, the store distributers held giveaways. I am sure you have seen them at the end of the aisles and perhaps put your name in at a chance to win. The gifts were always very nice. For each of the gifts given away, my father, the manager would also receive that gift. Over the years we had been blessed with Mountain Bikes, Telephones, Radios, Coolers etc. This one particular year I received the best gift that I could imagine, starting a legacy I continue to this day.

We had a regular customer at the grocery store who was one of the sweetest women I had ever met. She had three young children to take care of and…she was also crippled. She was the type of person that always had a smile in her heart and a sweet disposition. I never heard her complain…ever.

Three days before Christmas she arrived at the grocery store to do her Christmas grocery shopping. The “Secret Santa” team was ready. One person kept an eye on her shopping and the rest of us went to work. While she was pushing her cart around, the “team” was sneaking through the back door out to her small station wagon. We had a duplicate of every giveaway. We ran as fast as we could and opened her car door and literally filled her car with gifts! There was a HUGE Christmas Stocking full of toys, a large stuffed Polar Bear, a Toy Truck, Electric Train, Radio, wrapping paper and many more gifts. The entire time we were smiling and laughing. We never got to see the look on her face or hear her response when she opened the car door. The gift we received was in the giving.

Do I remember what I got for Christmas that year? Absolutely not. But…I will forever remember that feeling of helping someone else out. What is ironic about the situation is that my family was struggling as well. The beauty of it is that we didn’t even recognize that fact. We were so excited to be helping someone else out!

Each Christmas Season Secret Santa still makes an appearance. Some years “Santa” has less to give but always is able to see someone less fortunate and make a difference. You see, Christmas is about love. It could be something very small, a thoughtful card, a lottery ticket or helping someone with their groceries. It has nothing to do with accolades or thanks. The best part of being a “Secret Santa” to me is the feeling I get in my heart.

~Heidi Martin St. Jean

Thank you to my parents, Bill & Emily Martin for showing me what Christmas is really about.

“What if Christmas, he thought,
doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a
little bit more.
~Dr. Seuss

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