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Santa Claus is Coming to Town
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Secret Santa, and Why I Do What I Do...

I've been reading through hundreds of Secret Santa wishlists this week, and I realize that I really am the emotional one of the house, when it comes to the Christmas season. I suppose I always have been. I was the boy you see here - awed and amazed when I was young. I was that boy who never could sleep on Christmas Eve (though I knew I had to or Santa wouldn't be stopping by). :-) (I really did see Santa in person when I was in the second grade (but that's another story for another time! :-))

As I read so many stories attached to wishlists, it occurs to me that there are so many incredible people with their kids this year that could use our help - all over the world!. Even a ten dollar gift would help keep the magic alive for these families!

Why I do what I do?

The first year of +Secret Santa I watched from the sidelines and mailed out as many gifts as I could afford. I randomly chose mostly people I didn't know, and I had a blast doing that! Last year was a bit harder, but I did the same thing. The people I did know mostly received my vintage cards as gifts. The difference last year was that I was now an Official Elf. It was (and is) a serious task for me and my fellow elves.

For all doubters and Grinches out there - we take what we do very seriously, and we do everything we can to make sure we can help as many people as possible! We are not doing this for recognition or accolades. Many times we anonymously send gifts (as do many people). Our reasons are varied, but knowing my fellow elves as I do, I know that each one of us does this straight from the heart!

What we try to do, really, is to bring joy to everyone we can, and especially to families with kids who might not otherwise have a Christmas. Their stories truly touch me (and, I suspect, my fellow elves +Lori Friedrich +Kyla Myers +LaDonna Pride +Carmelyne Thompson +Rae Ouzts +Susan Tournour and Santa +Carter Gibson).

I myself was laid-off early in December, yet I squirreled-away some money earlier in the year just for this special occasion. I have Angels who have provided wonderful things for me already (so please, don't send me gifts!!) - but more than anything, I truly want (and hope!) that you will scroll through the list and choose some deserving, and sometimes hurting, people and families to send gifts to. 

The Lists

Choose people you don't know - choose complete strangers! Open your hearts, and even if it's only a five or ten dollar gift you send - you might make the absolute difference between a beautiful Christmas for wonderful children, and that of a Christmas where kids have nothing to open. and they lose faith in the magic of the season.

That's all. That's my two cents. I believe in what we're doing, and though I know there are doubters out there, I have absolute faith that what we're doing makes a difference. Even if it's only for one young boy or girl who's sleeping with one eye open, eagerly anticipating Santa's arrival!

#christmasspirit   #secretsanta2013   #helpingothers   #believeinmagic   #christmasmagic  
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   Excuse me, but this is Santa Claus speaking.
I was wondering why your parents named you after me.  Seems strange for you to be named Santa, doesn't it?  Do people ever get you mixed up with me, the real Santa Claus?
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Merry Christmas! One of Santa's Helpers in action...
Yesterday, I did go on my mission with Santa, I served as one of his elves mostly as the "official" picture taker. 

Santa Clause lives in Oregon and sometimes uses the name Ray.  Mrs Clause, standing next to him, once lived in this area. They have been coming to the Philippines for the last six years to spread good cheer.

We went out to a squatters area or "Informal settlers"  in the heart of Cebu City where Santa distributed fruit, toys, and other goodies for the kids that live in this area.

It was a lot of fun and it just felt good. :)

I've got about 150 usable pictures to process from our mission and an article to write. I'll be back to my wonderful friends here on G+ as my connection allows. 

#philippines   #cebu   #christmas   #santa   #expat  
P T-Finke's profile photoDestiny Smith's profile photo
Awww ♡
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Very Nice Photo +Sheila B. DuBois 
Let it Snow!    
Ziemassvētki's profile photoKaren Ghaly's profile photoCarlos Roberto Almeida Júnior's profile photoCandy Snow's profile photo
nice picture.
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How are your preparations for Thanksgiving going?
Are you going anywhere or hosting Thanksgiving this year?
Lorrah M.'s profile photoTyler Heilenman's profile photoOriana Hernandez's profile photoDiana Koulalis's profile photo
Puerto Rico.....It is wonderful.....and visit my mom.
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samantha dotson's profile photoRachel Burton's profile photoTaylor Wills's profile photoAlejandro AlonsoLago's profile photo
LOve the book
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Drive safely tonight! You never know what's out there.

Merry Christmas
Sammy Dillon's profile photoHaylie Parker's profile photoGabriella Rainer's profile photoAlejandro AlonsoLago's profile photo
stop trying to get people to belive in you you are not real at all
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+Houston TexansWR Andre Johnson was Santa Claus today, spending $17,352 on toys for 12 kids and their families. Awesome.
Roxsanne Patel's profile photoJonathan Whiffen's profile photoJ Silva's profile photoDiana Koulalis's profile photo
True christmas spirit
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Lynn King's profile photoZoey P.'s profile photoDeirdre Walsh's profile photolino milani's profile photo
Lol wow
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laura celentano's profile photoPrissilla West's profile photoCarolina Soledad's profile photoIR's profile photo
Lol that's a funny movie I ever seen. In my live
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I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

It's nap time for me at the beach!
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In their circles
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Have them in circles
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Celebrating Christmas all year long...

Santa Claus, or Santa, is a figure in North American culture who reflects an amalgamation of the Dutch Sinterklaas,[1] the English Father Christmas, and Christmas gift-bringers in other traditions. Santa Claus is said to bring gifts to the homes of good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December 24.[2] Santa Claus in this contemporary understanding echoes aspects of hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of gift-giver Saint Nicholas, the man from whom the name of Santa Claus derives and in whose honor Santa Claus may be referred to asSaint Nicholas or Saint Nick.

Santa Claus is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots (images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache). This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast.[3][4][5] This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children's books and films. The North American depiction of Santa Claus as it developed in the 19th and 20th century in turn influenced the modern perceptions of Father ChristmasSinterklaas and Saint Nicholas in European culture.

According to a tradition which can be traced to the 1820s, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine (originally eight) flying reindeer. Since the 20th century, in an idea popularized by the 1934 song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", Santa Claus has been believed to make a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior ("naughty" or "nice") and to deliver presents, including toys, and candy to all of the good boys and girls in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer who pull his sleigh.