In case you needed another excuse to embrace the holiday spirit, we’ve collected a list of times in which people went above and beyond to save Christmas for complete strangers.
That Time a Walmart Shopper Saved Christmas
Financial planner Greg Parady was at his local Florida Walmart to pick up bicycles for charity when he heard a woman telling an employee that she didn’t know if she could afford her layaway presents that year and might have to cancel her order.
Interest piqued, Parady walked over to the layaway section to see how much money people owed in total. It came to $89,000. While Parady couldn’t afford to pay off that amount, he did decide he could take away $21,000 of families’ burdens — helping a total of 76 strangers. Some beneficiaries were people who walked up to the counter to cancel their orders due to money problems. “He would swipe his card and say, ‘Merry Christmas,’” Cindy Nazzaro, who was helping him pick up the bikes, told the Today Show.
That Time Reddit Saved Christmas
On December 6, 2012, a man went on the “offmychest” subreddit to talk about how, “As a father of 4, I have failed.” According to ProZacDose’s post, following his brother’s murder and an injury that kept him out of work for a month, he fell into a depression and fell back on bills and other monetary obligations. “I am supposed to be a father and a provider and I can’t even do that. I am dreading Christmas morning, and wish I can just escape all of this.”
Redditors they took this as an opportunity to change this mans’s situation by encouraging him to open an Indigogo account for donations. As money poured in (and Christmas trees and presents got delivered), ProZacDose posted images of his bills, now paid in full, and his smiling children.
That Time a Fender Bender Saved Christmas
When single mom Kim Kerswell rear ended a car in a Massachusetts Panera’s parking lot weeks before the holidays in 2012, she ended up breaking down to the other driver about how she wasn’t sure if she could afford Christmas.
“I explained to her that I grew up in a single mom family, and know how difficult it is,” Sherene Borr, the woman whose car was hit, told the New York Daily News. So rather than call insurance on Kerswell, instead Borr decided to adopt her family for Christmas… even though she’s Jewish and doesn’t celebrate the holidays. Borr and her children went out to buy Kerswell’s family Christmas goodies — from groceries to One Direction memorabilia gifts.
“I have a good sense of when people are really in need,” Borr said. “I could just tell. We both ended up in tears.”
That Time The Sex Pistols Saved Christmas
Even though the Sex Pistols were initially reviled in England and banned from various venues, the rockers proved that they had a softer side when they held a secret benefit concert for the family of striking fire fighters, who weren’t making any present money until their wages were increased, on Christmas Day. Not only did they raise cash, but the Sex Pistols put on a good show. They “omitted the swear words because of the children,” the Guardian wrote.
That Time a Group of 100 Strangers Saved a Family’s Christmas
In 1978, a group of grinch-y thieves decided to ruin the Bidondi family’s Christmas by knocking over their tree, stealing their six-pound Christmas dinner hand, and unwrapping (and then taking) gifts. Another Rhode Island family was hit by the thieves, as well. But 100 local strangers wouldn’t allow their neighbors’ Christmases to stay ruined by giving them turkeys, toys, and cash to make up for the theft.