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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Secret Santa of Sedalia

Sedalia has gotten a holiday boost from our own personal hometown Secret Santa. This lady has spread good cheer throughout our community and has distributed $6000 of her own money to those in need. She has gone door to door, waltzed into Hardees and McDonald’s, the Salvation Army store, and caught people exiting their cars. Everyone’s first reaction is disbelief. When did we become so skeptical that we don’t believe in Santa Claus?

Like a true Secret Santa, her identity remains unknown. The Sedalia Democrat reporters follow in her wake to interview recipients. Out-of-work people, down-on- their-luck people, and worried-about-how-to-pay-for Christmas/taxes/heat/prescriptions—fill in the blank—people get tears in their eyes as they describe what they will do with their $50 or $100 the lady in red gave them.

We all want to make a difference in the world and here is one lady who found an anonymous way. She borrowed her idea from the millionaire Secret Santa in Kansas City. Larry Stewart's identity became known shortly before he died in 2007 after he had given away more than $1.3 million. Another Santa donned a red hat and continued the tradition in Kansas City, but this is our town’s first Secret Santa.

Somehow, I don’t think this lady is a millionaire. She might be, but I think she is just a caring, generous person who raided her bank account to spread Christmas cheer in a world where so many face hard economic times. Her gift comes from the heart without an ulterior motive of self-promotion. She cares, she loves, and she gives.

Most pictures in the paper are taken from an angle that hides her face. You see the flowing Santa “beard” and her face is obscured by the red-and-white Santa hat pulled low. One lone picture showed enough of her face that people who knew her well might have recognized her, but the photographers didn’t make that mistake again.

She is adamant that she remain anonymous. She doesn’t want public glory, only the private knowledge that she has made a difference in her own community.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa” but he doesn’t live at the North Pole, she lives in Sedalia. “Merry Christmas” isn’t just a trite phrase to her, it’s a personal mission.

I tip my Santa hat to you, Ms. Secret Santa. Thank you for reminding us that the greatest blessing of Christmas comes from spreading good cheer and giving generously to those who have less than we do.
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