Tony grew up in a simple working family. They weren’t rich, but his parents worked hard for him to live comfortably.
He never felt that he was missing anything because his parents instilled in him that, more than material things and monetary wealth, spending time with family and building happy memories was the most important thing.
Christmas was Tony’s favorite time of the year. He and his family would spend Christmas Eve watching movies together while drinking cups of hot chocolate.
After falling asleep in the living room, they would wake up and see Santa’s present under the Christmas tree, ready for Tony to open. Then the boy and his parents would make Christmas lunch as a family, sing Christmas songs and dance in the kitchen while cooking.
“This is all I need in life!”, Tony would say to his parents as they smiled and did their respective chores in the kitchen.
The boy had realized from a very young age that he did not need to have a lot of money to be truly happy in life. All he needed was a good bond with his family and good friends at school to create a lot of memories.
One year, Christmas fell on a Saturday, which meant he and his parents had an extra day to enjoy the weekend. Tony asked them for permission to go to the playground so he could hang out with other kids his age.
On that particular day, a group of children from the nearby collective shelter were playing on the swings.
“Hello!”, Tony greeted them. “Merry Christmas! Look at the new toy sword Santa brought me”” she said, swinging it for the children to see.
A boy looked at him and smiled gently. “Good for you”” he said to Tony.
“And what did Santa bring you?”, ask.
“We didn’t get any presents during Christmas. Santa Claus does not visit the shelter we live in,” the little one sadly revealed.
This revelation surprised Tony, because he did not believe that Santa did not bring gifts to some children.
“But they’ve been good, haven’t they? Santa should visit them!”, he insisted.
The boy shrugged his shoulders.
“We need to be good all year round, or else our chances of having a family will decrease. I guess Santa only visits children with families” he said, almost choking up in tears as he said this.
Tony didn’t know what to say to the guy after hearing this. Then he handed the boy his toy sword and asked if he wanted to play. The frown on the little guy’s face turned into a smile, and he nodded cheerfully, taking the sword from his hand.
That afternoon, Tony played with all the children, to whom he lent his toy sword. While playing they took turns swinging it while the others used sticks they had picked up from the ground to fake a sword fight.
“This sword is great!”, one of the little ones shouted. “It lights up and makes sounds!”.
“I’ve never used a toy sword before. I wish I could have one!,” added another.
That night, Tony wouldn’t stop talking about the kids he’d met on the playground. He couldn’t believe Santa didn’t visit them at the shelter and wondered why.
“Mom, Santa doesn’t visit them!,” he said. “Why?”.
“Maybe Santa doesn’t know there are children there. Right, Dad?”, his mom tried to reason.
“Yes, I think Santa doesn’t visit shelters… maybe he just visits houses,” the boy’s father added, trying not to spoil the Santa experience for his son.
“Then I will be Santa!,” Tony said.
From that night on, he put away the toys he no longer used, and even some of the new toys he had received from his classmates and friends of his parents.
The boy began to collect toys. He was doing that for a whole year and even asked his friends if they could donate some.
“I’m going to take them to the children from the shelter!”, he shared excitedly with his friends.
One day, Tony came home with a big bag of toys from school, all thanks to his friends who wanted to support him in his mission.
“I gave you all the cute toys that I haven’t used yet. I hope they make the kids happy!”, his best friend Pedro told him one day.
During their birthdays and special holidays, Tony and his friends would set aside the gifts they received so they would have more gifts to give to the children at the shelter around Christmas time. In the end, the guy was able to collect enough toys for all the children there.
When Christmas finally arrived, Tony enthusiastically handed his mom and dad some money to buy gift wrapping.
“I saved part of my allowance so I could buy wrapping papers to wrap the toys I collected throughout the year. Can we buy some?”, he asked them.
Tony’s parents couldn’t be prouder of him for being so selfless.
“You are a very kind boy, my love”, his mother told him, giving him a big hug.
“Those children will be very happy. Thank you for being his Santa”” she added before taking him to the store to buy wrapping paper.
Then they returned home and wrapped hundreds of gifts in Christmas-themed paper while listening to music of the time.
“They’re going to be very happy!,” Tony said. “Maybe we can even take gifts to two shelters! What do you think, Mom?”, he asked.
“I think it can be done! We will be able to visit two shelters with Santa!”, she said, pointing to the door where Tony’s father was standing dressed as Santa Claus. The child screamed with excitement and began to laugh.
To support his son, the man had bought a costume at the store and volunteered to dress up as Santa when they visited the shelter. The boy and his mom decided to dress up as elves.
“You look like Santa Claus, Dad! Good job!”, said the boy jokingly.
The three of them continued wrapping presents together so they could visit the shelters the next day.
When they arrived at the first shelter, the children excitedly shouted: “SANTA!”.
“You finally visited us! Thank you for visiting us!”, said one of the boys, hugging Tony’s father in his costume.
“I think we’ve been really good this year!” said another child. “Santa finally decided to visit us!”.
”You guys have always been good, kids,” said Tony’s dad, dressed up as Santa. “I’m sorry it took me so long to visit you… but I came with gifts! My little elves helped me choose the best ones for you all!”.
The children started jumping up and down when they heard that Santa had brought them presents. Tony and his mom started to distribute the gifts to all the children and they started playing happily.
Tony and his parents spent the whole afternoon with the little ones from the shelter. After seeing the smiles on the children’s faces, they promised to support their son if he ever decided to give them gifts again.
They had no idea that, before they left for the second shelter, the administrative officers of the first one had taken photos and videos of them playing with the children.
His story touched the hearts of thousands of people, and many decided to help Tony in his mission to make sure the children in the shelters enjoyed the Christmas season.
By the time the year was over, the boy’s parents helped him create the “Tony’s Mission for Christmas” Facebook page because of the many inquiries they were receiving.
Through this page, people from many parts donated toys, books and money so that Tony could give them to the children of the shelters during the Christmas season. Some also sent boxes with toys, books and money for the boy.
”Mom,” the boy said one day when a huge box with toys arrived at his house. “This one is tagged ‘for Tony!,” he said excitedly. “Can I open it?”.
“Of course, son, but read the letter first. What does it say?”, his mom asked him. They opened the sealed envelope together and sat down in the living room to read the note.
Thank you for being a great inspiration to many. Your generosity and selflessness have sparked a movement in many parts, forming a culture of love, kindness and happiness. We wish even more children to be happy, and we hope that more people will help you and your cause! We pray that you and your family will be blessed with everything you need and more because you deserve it! We hope you like these toys that we chose for you. We hope that you will enjoy your childhood in the same way that you are allowing the children in the shelters to have a normal childhood as well.”
When they finished reading the letter, Tony’s mom was crying.
“Oh, son,” she said, hugging her little one. “You have inspired a lot of people. I am so proud of the person you have become. I couldn’t be more proud of you, son. I love you””
“You and Dad raised me to be who I am, Mom. I know that you two work hard to give me what I have, and that’s why I’ve learned to be grateful for everything,” he replied. “I want those kids to grow up normally like I have,” she told her mom.
Tony reached his adolescence working with the program “Tony’s Mission for Christmas”. He received so much support from other people that he was able to help more than five shelters every year and he had a running fund that he could use every Christmas.
A simple visit to the playground during his childhood inspired the boy to bring a whole program to life thanks to his kindness. His help to the shelters became a Christmas tradition that thousands of people looked forward to every year.