Amid the ads, long lines, and mall parking lot battles, it's easy to forget that winter is the season of giving.
And while the rest of us generously give to our friends and family (and to one or two charities) this time of year, afew anonymous donors are doing their part in a major way to keep the holiday spirit alive.
One man, known only as Santa B, recently paid off hundreds of layaway bills at two Pennsylvania Walmart stores, totaling nearly $160,000.
Managers at the Walmart stores in Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, both received visits from the generous donor, who presented them with cashiers checks for $79,000 each to cover the outstanding layaway balances their respective stores.
"He said he'd had a very successful business and wanted to give back to his neighbors in the community," Walmart manager Steven Myers told WGAL. He also said the generous donor even bore a passing resemblance to the jolly old elf.
And Santa B isn't the only one making holiday wishes come true this year.
Other anonymous donors across the country have paid off layaway bills at their local Walmart stores. One mystery donor paid off balances totaling nearly $100,000 at two stores in northeastern Ohio. And another donor in northern Florida made a $200,000 donation to cover layaway bills at stores in Gainesville and Chiefland.
It should be noted here that the Waltons, the family of Walmart founder Sam Walton, have a combined net worth of $149 billion and easily could've done this with every single one of their stores and still had enough money left over to swim in Olympic-sized money pools. So while it's doubtful, I'm secretly hoping these generous donors are the Waltons in disguise. Or at the very least, that the Waltons see these stories and are inspired to give back to the minimum-wage workers and the shoppers that keep them living so comfortably.
Don't hold my breath, you say? Fair enough. Back to celebrating all of this holiday do-goodery.
Even the local police are getting in the giving mood.
An anonymous donor gifted the Hutchinson, Kansas, police department with $1,500 to give to people in need. The Local Fraternal Order of Police heard about the donation and matched it.
With the $3,000, officers have been stopping people randomly (and in some cases, surprising people with a known need) to make some holiday wishes come true. As if being randomly pulled over by a cop only to find out you aren't actually in trouble isn't gift enough.
"We’re just there to give him some money for the holidays, and you can really see it on their face, and [when] we give him the money, how happy they are," Officer Grant Ingram told local news station, KSN.
Deputies near Tucson, Arizona, are handing out $100 bills to unsuspecting residents, thanks to a big donation from a former Secret Santa.
"'Secret Santa' is a guy who used to get on his motorcycle and give out $100 bills to people during the holiday season," Sheriff Chris Nanos told KVOA. "An accident left him unable to do that anymore."
So Santa passed the torch (and a $10,000 donation) to the Pima County Sheriff's Department, where deputies have the delightful task of making the season bright for people in the community.
You don't need to be a millionaire (or even a thousand-aire) to make someone's day.
Whether it's paying it forward the next time you're in the drive-through, donating a winter coat to someone in need, or simply plugging a meter that's about to expire (so long as your city is cool with that), you too can be a hero this holiday season.
(Just leave the whole "coming-down-the-chimney" thing to the pros, OK?)